CSU, Chico News

Busy Founders Week Schedule Highlights Heritage and Achievements

Date: 03-30-2011

Joe Wills
Public Affairs

A remarkable story of ingenuity and resilience is one of the highlights of California State University, Chico’s 2011 Founders Week, April 9-17.

William Kamkwamba, author of the best-selling “The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind,” Chico’s Book in Common for this year, will be speaking in Laxson Auditorium Thursday, April 14, at 7:30 p.m. His visit culminates months of related events and book group discussions on campus and in the Chico community.

CSU, Chico’s Founders Week has its roots in the school’s 1909 Charter Day, which was an occasion to remember John Bidwell and other founders of the Normal School back in 1887.

Every spring, CSU, Chico celebrates its rich history and accomplishments during Founders Week. The nine-day span features special events and annual ceremonies that highlight the achievements of faculty, staff, students and alumni as well as pay tribute to the special connection between the campus and surrounding community.

While “The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind” followed two very well-received Book in Common choices – “Three Cups of Tea” and “The Soloist” Kamkwamba’s account of his Malawi boyhood has also resonated with Chico-area readers. To bring electricity and water to his family and village, Kamkwamba made a windmill out of scrap metal and tractor and bicycle parts, inspiring others in his country and beyond.

“I am happy to see that (CSU, Chico and Butte College) are using my book for the common read program,” Kamkwamba said. “I hope my book will encourage people to achieve their goals.”

To honor high-achieving members of the campus community, Founders Week will feature the Outstanding Faculty Service Award reception Monday, April 11, University Awards Reception for student leaders Tuesday, April 12, the Outstanding Professor Award Presentation Wednesday, April 13, the Staff Awards luncheon Thursday, April 14, and the invitation-only Distinguished Alumni Dinner Friday, April 15.

This year the Distinguished Alumni awardees will also take part in a panel discussion for the public called “Navigating Your Road to Professional Success: How 2011 Distinguished Alum Honorees Made It from Here to There” on Friday, April 15, at 2 p.m. in PAC 134.

CSU, Chico’s performance spaces will be busy during Founders Week, featuring the University’s Symphonic Winds, Concert Band, Guitar Ensemble, A Capella Choir and Chamber Singers and a performance of “A Doll’s House.”

In addition, Chico Performances will be hosting acoustic virtuosos Bela Fleck, Zakir Hussain and Edgar Meyer in Laxson Auditorium Wed., April 13.

The third annual Far East Fusion, Saturday, April 9, which includes a tea ceremony and art workshops, has been changed to a fundraiser to benefit relief efforts in Japan. For more information, go to www.csuchico.edu/art.

Campus history will be highlighted at two events Monday, April 11. At 10 a.m. will be the annual Campus History Tour, and at 1 p.m. a rededication of the Bidwell Grove near Ayres Hall. In 1911, students of the Normal School placed a plaque in a grove of redwoods as a gift in honor of John and Annie Bidwell. The 1 p.m. event will showcase a new location for the plaque and mark the 100-year gift with the planting of a new redwood.

Founders Week events with an environmental focus include the Banff Mountain Film Festival Friday, April 15, and Eco-Festival Saturday, April 16.

CSU, Chico’s baseball, softball, and track and field teams will be competing at home during Founders Week, as will the men’s and women’s lacrosse clubs.

For the full schedule of events, go to http://www.csuchico.edu/pa/founders-week/ or call 898-4143.