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President's Message to Campus - August 23, 2019

It is exciting and exhilarating when students return to Ferris State University, and especially when our new students move into our residence halls and apartments. If you have moved a son or daughter into college, you understand how this can be a tiring, and especially if it is hot, a stressful time. To help students and their families with the move to campus, 50+ faculty and staff are volunteering at the First Impressions tents located on campus, and an additional 60+ are assisting with Operation Move-In. There is a positive feeling of support with these efforts, and they can make a tremendous difference for those new to campus. Thank you to all organizers and volunteers for lending a hand, providing a warm welcome, and demonstrating our support for these new students and visitors.

Tomorrow the Big Rapids Downtown Business Association (DBA) is hosting “Summer Fest” from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. to welcome students to downtown Big Rapids. Four blocks of Michigan Avenue will be closed to make room for a list of attractions and events including the Bangarang Circus Aerial Show, Bulldog Express Trackless Train, the music group Balsam Brothers, a downtown scavenger hunt, the CranHill Ranch rock climbing wall, sidewalk sales, ice cream, acoustic open mic, Artworks artist demonstrations, vendors and more. A Ferris shuttle will be provided for our students from 3 to 6 p.m. to and from downtown. Thank you to the DBA and all of the businesses for welcoming our students to downtown Big Rapids.

I also want to thank everyone involved with Bulldog Beginnings, a program organized by the Center for Leadership, Activities and Career Services that welcomes and engages students during their first two weeks at Ferris. There are more than 35 events planned for new and returning students, including live music on the Quad, Meijer Back to College ’19, comedian Jessi Campbell, Rockin’ at the Roller Rink, Center for [email protected] Studies Open House and more.

Activities begin this evening with our Bulldog Welcome at 7 p.m. at Top Taggart Field followed by a Movie on the Quad at 9 p.m. On Saturday, our women’s volleyball team hosts an exhibition match against Central Michigan at 4 p.m. and UC Late Night begins at 9 p.m. Sunday our women’s soccer team hosts an exhibition game against Adrian College at 1 p.m. A full listing of events is available online. All of these events help our students get engaged with campus activities, make new friends and have a positive start to the semester.

Founders’ Day

On Thursday, Aug. 29, the annual Founders’ Day celebration will be particularly special as we recognize our 135th anniversary. From our founding in 1884 as the Big Rapids Industrial School with an initial class of 15 students to what is now Ferris State University, we have embraced the legacy entrusted to us by Woodbridge and Helen Ferris. Even though much has changed over the last 135 years, Mr. and Mrs. Ferris would be proud to know we are furthering their vision and mission of making the world a better place. 

Our History Task Force and staff from University Advancement and Marketing have done a beautiful job in creating a timeline of the important historical milestones over the past 135 years. Many of you are familiar with some of the University’s history. This timeline will help you see more of the University’s important achievements that you may not have known. You can view the timeline on our website.

Here are the Founders’ Day activities:  

  • 11 a.m. Presidential Remarks – My annual remarks on the University’s past, present and future in the University Center, Room 203.
  • 12 – 1:30 p.m. Employee Picnic – Enjoy a wonderful picnic prepared by Dining Services under the big tent on the Quad.
  • 4 – 6:30 p.m. Founders’ Day Extravaganza – Held on the Quad, this showcases the volunteer opportunities around the community, departments on campus and Five-Star student organizations. 
  • 4 – 7 p.m. Ice Cream Social – Held on the Quad and sponsored by Governmental Relations and General Counsel, this event features celebrity servers, Jones’ Ice Cream, and brings together the University and Big Rapids community.

All Founders’ Day events are free. I encourage you to attend any or all of these events as your schedule allows. Thank you to everyone who works to make this day special.

Closing Thoughts

On Monday, many students will be familiar with the campus, but for others, this could be their first time navigating around the University. During these first days of the semester, please take time to help our students as they become accustomed to their new educational home.

Each of us can remember a moment when someone reached out to help us, and in doing so changed our lives. We never know when a moment of our kindness or assistance will make that important difference for others. As we begin the first week of classes on Monday, I want to personally thank each and every member of our Ferris community for everything you do for our students.            

David L. Eisler, president