- Student Groups
- Get Involved
Since the inception of the University of Manitoba Engineering Society (UMES) in 1909, the President of UMES has traditionally been known as the Senior Stick, and each spring has been marked by the passing of the ceremonial Stick-Of-Office from the outgoing Senior Stick to the incoming Senior Stick. At the end of each term of office the outgoing Senior Stick's name is engraved on a silver band and placed on the Stick-of-Office.
The Stick-Of-Office has an interesting history that, until recently, has never been widely known. The concept for the Stick was brought to the Engineering Society, and indeed to the entire University, by Professor E.E. Brydon-Jack when he was named the University's first professor of Engineering in 1906. Professor Brydon-Jack learned about the Stick-Of-Office tradition while visiting Dimbleby College in Portmeirion, Wales. The money was not available to commission the first Stick-Of-Office until 1927, and at that time the names of the previous Senior Sticks were included retroactively. In 1987, the first Stick-Of-Office had no room for additional names, and the former Senior Sticks were canvassed in order to finance the cost of commissioning a new one. The former Senior Sticks were so generous that enough money was left over to construct a display case as a gift to the University.
Both the 1927 and 1988 Sticks have very interesting and symbolic elements to their designs. The beaver on the very top of the crown of both the 1927 and 1988 Sticks was a traditional symbol of the army Corps of Engineers in Canada, and is sitting on a stylized sun, a source of life in ancient mythology. The 1927 stick was known for years for its distinctive rattle caused by something loose in the crown. This led to rumours that the Stick itself was a miniature time capsule and that a secret was held within. It wasn't until the 1988 Stick was commissioned that the secret was discovered - the rattle was caused by a loose chip of diamond that had been enclosed in the crown of the Stick since 1927. Also, inscribed on the inside of the silver crown, hidden from view, is the secret phrase that is repeated annually by the outgoing Senior Stick to the incoming Senior Stick. The 1988 Stick also has this phrase inscribed on its inside and contains a small diamond. When the 1927 Stick was commissioned the Faculty of Engineering also encompassed Architecture, and for this reason it says Faculty of Engineering and Architecture on it. The red and white circular logo is the traditional symbol of the Engineering Society, and it is joined on the 1988 Stick by the Red Lion, a more recent logo of the Society. Intriguingly enough, the circular pin on the 1988 Stick was actually found at a garage sale in 1987 by a student who recognized it as the UMES emblem; when the students charged with procuring the 1988 Stick noticed what their friend was wearing on his lapel they swiftly and efficiently stole it to be included on the new Stick-Of-Office. The silversmith who crafted the new Stick ascertained that the old pin was actually older than the 1927 Stick; faintly engraved at the bottom of the pin was the inscription "1912" which was obscured when the pin was cleaned before mounting. In this way part of the old tradition of the Faculty was recognized in the creation of the new Stick.