Investiture for President Karl Scholz set for May 30

The University of Oregon community will look to the future as it celebrates the investiture of its 19th president, John Karl Scholz, on Thursday, May 30.  

Steve Holwerda, chair of the Board of Trustees of the University of Oregon, said investiture is “an important and historical tradition in the life of the academy.” 

“We look forward celebrating Karl’s first year and formally installing him as president,” Holwerda said. "An investiture offers a point in time to reflect on our university’s values, achievements and ambitions, but also provides a platform for President Scholz to share his aspirations for the University of Oregon.” 

It is typical for investiture ceremonies to take place months or even a year after a new president takes office, as was the case in the investitures of former UO presidents Richard Lariviere, Michael Gottfredson and Michael Schill. 

Scholz arrived on the UO campus last July. He previously served as a faculty member, center director, dean, provost and interim chancellor at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. He is an economist with expertise in household savings, low-wage labor markets, financial barriers to higher education and bankruptcy laws. He served in two presidential administrations, working at both the Council of Economic Advisors in the Executive Office of the President and at the U.S. Treasury Department.  

What all the regalia means

The term “investiture” is Latin for “in dress” or “in robe.” Members of the UO community with a bachelor’s degree or higher are welcome to wear academic regalia to the event and march in the processional.

A medallion and mace are official symbols of the president’s authority at the University of Oregon, and historically are presented to a new president on the occasion of their investiture. In medieval times, a mace was carried into battle by kings, bishops and other leaders for use as a weapon. Today, it is a symbol of authority.

The UO’s mace was designed and fabricated in 1981 by C. Max Nixon, professor emeritus of fine and applied arts, as a gift to the university. The use of copper, bronze, silver and walnut exemplify the spirit of the university since its founding in 1876.

The president’s Centennial Medallion was commissioned in 1975 to be worn by the president as a badge of office and was created by Professor Paul E. Buckner of the Department of Fine and Applied Arts.

The ceremony will be livestreamed and recorded. As the event nears, additional information will be available on Around the O and on the Office of the President’s website.