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There was something new at the university’s most time-honored ceremony this year.
Chancellor Pam Shockley-Zalabak wore more than a pound of new ceremonial jewelry -- bling in the parlance of students – as she delivered the commencement address and shook the hands of those who earned degrees.
In doing so, Shockley-Zalabak ushered in a new tradition at UCCS, a chain of office to be worn by the sitting chancellor during commencement exercises and other formal occasions that require academic regalia. The chain bears the names of the six individuals who have served as UCCS leaders in addition to the names of the academic colleges. The chain’s links are connected by a medallion of the university seal.
“Today, we begin a new tradition,” Shockley-Zalabak said at a gathering of vice chancellors and deans when the chain of office was presented. “I am deeply honored, recognizing the effort that went into creating this beautiful piece as well as the service of those who came before me and those who will follow me as chancellor.”
The presentation to Shockley-Zalabak was a surprise. When originally approached more than a year ago by Brian Burnett, vice chancellor, Administration and Finance, with the idea of creating a ceremonial chain of office, Shockley-Zalabak approved the concept. But she forbade the use of university funds for its creation. She also declared pitches to university benefactors off limits.
A lead contribution from Kathy Griffith, chief of staff, helped turn the idea into reality.
“As I get ready to retire after 30 years of service – and having known everyone whose name is on the chain – I thought this was a good way for me to give something back to the university,” Griffith said. “I’m glad I could help make this possible.”
Campus deans and vice chancellors added to Griffith’s contribution, as did Shockley-Zalabak who purchased an oak case for secure storage when the chain is not in use.
The chain is expandable when UCCS changes leaders or adds colleges. The first UCCS Chancellor was Lawrence Silverman who served from 1971 to 1977. Prior to his appointment, UCCS operated under the leadership of the University of Colorado at Boulder.
The names of UCCS leaders and dates of service as they appear on the chain of office are: