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Founders' Day 2019 Aug. 29 To Begin Celebration of Ferris' 135th Anniversary

Ice Cream Social photoFree servings of Jones Ice Cream will be available Thursday, Aug. 29 as Ferris State University celebrates Founders' Day with the annual Ice Cream Social and Extravaganza on the North Campus Quad. This event is the first celebration of the university's 135th anniversary, with others to follow during the 2019-20 academic year.

A traditional event at Ferris State University will serve as the first opportunity to celebrate the institution’s 135-year history of service to and presence in west-central Michigan. Founders' Day 2019 takes place Thursday, Aug. 29 on the main campus in Big Rapids.

A variety of activities throughout the day will bring the Ferris State student body, faculty and staff together with members of the Big Rapids community, according to History Task Force Chair Mary Kay MacIver.

“The Ferris community has always been proud of its heritage,” MacIver said. “Our founders, Helen Gillespie and Woodbridge Nathan Ferris, possessed a progressive core belief that everyone deserved an education, regardless of their gender, age or ethnicity. From the Big Rapids Industrial School, to the Ferris Institute, to Ferris State College to Ferris State University, we have witnessed many changes over the past 135 years and there is much to celebrate. But what endures is the Ferris’ hands-on, practical approach to education that is expressed through our mission to prepare our students for successful careers, responsible citizenship and life-long learning.”

Ferris President David Eisler will deliver his annual State of the University address at 11 a.m. that day, with a picnic for faculty and staff to follow on the North Campus Quad.

“This 13th Founders’ Day celebration is an opportunity to honor our founders, celebrate our past, present and future, and commemorate the legacy entrusted to us,” Eisler said.

The Founders’ Day celebration continues from 4 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. with the annual Ice Cream Social, featuring Jones Homemade Ice Cream served by local dignitaries. The University Pride Committee and History Task Force will also be handing out free t-shirts commemorating the university’s 135th anniversary and special buttons honoring the tradition. The day also includes the annual Founders’ Day Ice Cream Social.

The event is a welcome event for area nonprofits, who promote their volunteer opportunities to the student audience. Five-Star registered student organizations are also on the Quad, promoting their activities and causes. There are also games, giveaways and activities, along with raffle prizes including a large screen TV. Organizers from the Center for Leadership, Activities and Career Services said that the drawing for major prizes will take place at 6:30 p.m. and registrants must be present to win.

The Big Rapids Industrial School opened on Monday, Sept. 1, 1884. The university will continue to celebrate its 135th anniversary through the 2019-2020 academic year with a variety of programs, promotions and special commemorative graphics.