CSU, Chico News

Charter Day Ceremony During Founders Week Highlights Legacy of Giving

Date: 04-16-2009

Joe Wills
Public Affairs

California State University, Chico will honor the generosity and vision of its founders and the spirit of giving that continues to this day at a special Founders Week event Friday, April 24, at 2 p.m.

In 1909, President Charles Van Liew of the Northern Branch State Normal School announced an annual event called Charter Day to pay tribute to the people who had founded the school, which would later become CSU, Chico. In honor of her late husband, John Bidwell, who had donated the land for the school in 1887, Annie Bidwell made a gift of additional land between the Normal School and Big Chico Creek.

To commemorate the 100th anniversary of the Charter Day announcement, CSU, Chico President Paul Zingg will host the April 24 ceremony at the front entrance of Kendall Hall, where the Normal School building stood from 1888 to 1927.

Charter Day is the precursor to CSU, Chico’s current Founders Week, which began in 1994.

To honor the Bidwells and all those who brought the Normal School to Chico, a stately London plane tree in front of Kendall Hall will be officially designated as the “Founders Tree” at the ceremony. The plane tree dates back to the late 1800s and was likely planted by the Bidwells.

The Bidwells’ donations of land were only the first of many gifts that have marked the history of the University. Charitable trusts established by Vernon and Marie Fish nearly 20 years ago have recently been terminated because of Marie Fish’s death in February. This gift, which provides approximately $3 million divided among the College of Agriculture, University-wide projects and the Janet Turner Print Museum, will be highlighted by President Zingg in the ceremony.

The Charter Day Ceremony will also pay tribute to the CSU, Chico students and community members who set a new record for donations to the St. Jude Children’s Hospital. This year the students’ Up ‘til Dawn fund-raising event raised more than $200,000 for the research hospital, the most of any school in the country. No school had ever topped $200,000 in donations in one year.

To open and close the event, CSU, Chico’s popular student performing group The Off-Broadways will sing songs from 1909.

For a full schedule of Founders Week events, go to http://www.csuchico.edu/pa/foundersweek/