BIG RAPIDS – What’s in a name? The Ferris in Ferris State University stands to honor and remember the school’s founding fathers: Woodbridge N. and Helen Ferris.
In continuing to celebrate and honor the blossoming of what began as Big Rapids Industrial School in 1884 into a vibrant university, the campus community will gather on Thursday, Sept. 4, to honor its past and foster a new vision for the future as part of Founders’ Day.
Ferris’ 18th president, David Eisler, will give a State of the University address at 11 a.m. in the Rankin Student Center Dome Room, followed by a picnic on the Campus Quad beginning at 11:30 a.m. A Strategic Plan question and answer session is set for 1 p.m. in the Centennial Dining Room, with a free community ice cream social from 4 to 7 p.m. at the Student Recreation Center. Ice cream is being provided by Jones Homemade Ice Cream of Baldwin.
“One of the special and distinct characteristics of our university is the heritage of our founders Woodbridge and Helen Ferris,” Eisler said. “Founders’ Day gives the campus and Big Rapids community a chance to not only celebrate the start of another academic year but also gives us a chance to take stock of where we are today as an institution of higher learning and where we’re headed.”
The start of a new academic year is a great time of year for everyone, including the Big Rapids community, to share in the University’s history and future, added Ferris General Counsel Miles Postema.
“The ice cream social brings the community to campus when it’s busy and vibrant,” Postema said. “The open house-type atmosphere of an ice cream social is a good way for the University and community to come together.”
Highlighting this year’s ice cream social will be celebrity servers, including Interim Vice President for University Advancement and Marketing Shelly Armstrong, Student Government President Amber Balmer, Rep. Darwin Booher, Interim Vice President for Academic Affairs Dan Burcham, Interim Vice President for Administration and Finance Rick Christner, Mecosta County Commissioner Kevin Courtney, President Eisler, College of Professional and Technological Studies Vice Chancellor Don Green, Judge Scott Hill-Kennedy, Big Rapids City Commissioner Tom Hogenson, Big Rapids Township Supervisor Maxine McClelland, Director of Alumni Relations Jeremy Mishler, Judge Ron Nichols, Chief Diversity Officer David Pilgrim, Postema, Downtown Development Authority Chair Carlleen Rose, community advocates Bill and Lynne Scheible, Big Rapids City Manager Steve Sobers, board of trustees member Sueann Walz and Mayor Mark Warba.
Bustling with more than 9,000 students on its Big Rapids campus and more than 13,000 system wide, and home to more than 170 degree programs, Ferris is now providing educational opportunities to not only students hailing from Michigan but across the United States and even throughout the world.
Gaining university status in 1987, Ferris began as Big Rapids Industrial School in 1884 before becoming Ferris Industrial School in 1885, Ferris Institute in 1898 and Ferris State College in 1950. For more fun facts about Ferris’ history, visit www.ferris.edu/alumni/historical.
27 August, 2008