University to Host Annual Founders' Day Activities on Aug. 28

Ferris State UniversityFerris State University is ready for its Founders’ Day Celebration set for Thursday, Aug. 28 on the North Campus Quad in Big Rapids.

Founders’ Day is an annual event for students, faculty, staff and community members to come together to celebrate founders Woodbridge and Helen Gillespie Ferris and their contributions to what is today known as Ferris State University. The Founders’ Day activities, as Ferris celebrates its 130th anniversary, are free and open to students, faculty, staff and community members.

“It’s an honor to have the State Bar of Michigan recognize the events that led up to Ferris State University becoming a state institution,” Ferris President David Eisler said. “Woodbridge and Helen Ferris founded their school 130 years ago.  Gov. G. Mennen Williams was a critical component in the then Ferris institute becoming a state school in 1950. This was also the year of the Great Fire at Ferris which destroyed Old Main. Without this new state institution status it is uncertain whether Ferris could have survived.”

Activities highlighting Founders’ Day includes the annual ice cream social, featuring guest and celebrity servers, from 4 to 7 p.m. on the North Campus Quad. The celebration also includes novelties such as henna tattoos, a race track and wax hands.

Founders’ Day is a part of Bulldog Beginnings, a series of events designed to welcome students to campus and begin the Fall 2014 semester. It provides an opportunity for students to become familiar with five-star registered student organizations, area service agencies and more. Bulldog Beginnings also includes fun activities and educational events for students, faculty, staff and community members.

Events include an 8 p.m. 130th anniversary birthday party celebration followed by the Entertainment Unlimited 130th Birthday Silent Disco Party from 8:30 until 11 p.m. in the North Quad near FLITE library.

A special addition to this year’s Founders’ Day festivities is the unveiling at 11 a.m. of a “Michigan Legal Milestones” plaque commemorating the signing of the Smith-VanderWerp Bill by Gov. G. Mennen “Soapy” Williams on May 17, 1949. The Smith-VanderWerp Bill paved the way for Ferris to become a public institution on July 1, 1950.

“Our university lives the heritage of our founders, so it is truly fitting to have this aspect of our history highlighted as part of our 130th anniversary celebration,” Eisler said