Celebrations of efforts made by Woodbridge and Helen Gillespie Ferris to establish Ferris State University are set for Thursday, Sept. 2, with a schedule of Founders’ Day activities from mid-morning to late that evening.
The Big Rapids Industrial School opened to area students on Sept. 1, 1884, and the university has selected the first Thursday in September to honor the legacy and philosophy of its founders.
A 9 a.m. ceremony begins Founders’ Day, as dignitaries break ground on the $32 million Center for Virtual Learning. That event’s location is the Dewaine V. and Jana B. Robinson Quad area, near the Ferris Library for Information, Technology and Education (FLITE). The state-supported Center for Virtual Learning will house several technology-based degree programs and is expected to open to instruction in Spring 2023.
Late-morning activities in the University Center include a 10:30 a.m. dedication of an Alumni Wall in the upper level of the building while President David Eisler’s speech starts at 11 a.m. in the University Center Ballroom.
Founders’ Day activities continue on the Robinson Quad at noon, with a rededication ceremony at the Woodbridge N. Ferris statue.
A collaborative effort by the Office of General Counsel, Grounds personnel, Dining and Catering professionals and the Center for Leadership, Activities and Career Services welcomes local nonprofit and charitable organizations to the Robinson Quad for a resource fair at 3 p.m. There will also be an outreach opportunity for Crimson and Gold-level registered student organizations. In addition, local celebrities from the Big Rapids area will take up sweet service at that hour, dispensing Jones Ice Cream in a free Community Ice Cream Social until their supplies are distributed. There will also be several raffles, with winners announced at 6 p.m., for those who are present in the Quad.
The final Founders’ Day activity is the opening game of the 2021 season for Ferris’ football team, with a 7:30 p.m. kickoff as the Bulldogs host the University of Findlay (Ohio) Oilers at Top Taggart Field. Ferris’ Department of Public Safety has asked tailgaters to begin their activities at 5:15 p.m., so students and staff in academic buildings might complete their day on campus.