Harvard Law School Class Marshal Baton, 1964

  • HLS Class Marshal Baton_1964_HOLLIS 8001351611.tif

Wood, 35.3 cm
Gift of Elliot C. Rothenberg ’64, 2015
HOLLIS 8001351611

This baton was given to Elliot C. Rothenberg (J.D. 1964), as a symbol of his role as Class Marshal for the Harvard Law School Class of 1964. Elected by majority student vote, the Class Marshal is the titular leader of the graduating class, responsible for organizing Class Day activities, leading the Commencement procession, and organizing alumni activities.

This particular baton is notable for symbolizing what the Harvard Law Record deemed “the wildest battle in the history of Law School class elections” during which the Ad Hoc Elections Committee changed the election rules at the last minute and students circulated petitions in retaliation. Following extended hearings by Dean Toepfer, Rothenberg emerged with the majority support of his class. Rothenberg, who gave an irreverent, anti-establishment Class Day speech under the withering gaze of Dean Griswold, is also remembered by the Record for insisting (ultimately in vain) that students be allowed to sit on the commencement platform regardless of their GPA rank.