CSU, Chico News

Founders Week Features Special Events, High Achievers

Date: 04-02-2015

Joe Wills
Public Affairs

California State University, Chico will once again recognize its long history and honor outstanding students, faculty, staff, alumni and friends of the University during the annual Founders Week celebration held each April.

The 2015 Founders Week begins Friday, April 10, with the Distinguished Alumni Dinner and ends Sunday, April 19, with the Heritage Circle Luncheon that pays tribute to donors who have included Chico State in their estate plans.

The Founders Week celebration includes a wide array of annual award events as well as athletics, arts, entertainment and scholarly presentations.

Saturday, April 11, will feature Choose Chico!, an annual open house for prospective students and their families. Campus tours and meetings with academic department representatives are among the activities. More information is available at http://www.csuchico.edu/admissions/choose_chico.shtml.

CSU, Chico’s largest student award ceremony is the University Student Awards Reception, Tuesday, April 14. Honorees are nominated on the basis of outstanding performance in areas such as academics, leadership and community service.

Two of the University’s award-winning professors for this year will be honored during Founders Week. Economics professor John Eckalbar will give the Outstanding Professor address Monday, April 13, and a reception will be held Friday, April 17, for English professor Tracy Butts, the Outstanding Faculty Service Award recipient.

The annual Staff Awards Luncheon Thursday, April 16, will name the 2015 Employee of the Year as well as honor other staff members for their contributions to campus.

A special occasion during Founders Week this year is the 45th anniversary celebration of the Community Legal Information Center (CLIC) Saturday, April 11. Alumni and supporters of CLIC, which helps more than 16,000 clients a year, will launch a fundraising campaign at the anniversary event to support the organization’s future financial health.

A full listing of the times and locations of Founders Week events is at http://www.csuchico.edu/pa/founders-week/index.shtml.

Founders Week is so named because it echoes the school’s 1909 Charter Day, which was an occasion to remember John Bidwell and other founders of the Normal School chartered in 1887.

On March 5, 1909, CSU, Chico—then the Northern Branch of the State Normal School—was only 22 years old. Bidwell had died nine years earlier, and several other prominent members of the founding faculty, which numbered only nine, had also passed away. The date was an opportunity to look back at the origins of the school and to memorialize those who had done so much to make it successful.

The Charter Day event, which was repeated in many subsequent years, was traditionally held in the spring to be close to April 7, the date in 1887 that the California Legislature announced Chico as the location for the Normal School.

A highlight of the first Charter Day anniversary was the donation to the school by John Bidwell’s wife, Annie, of two acres of land between the Normal School and Big Chico Creek. It was one of several important land gifts Annie Bidwell made in Chico in the early 20th century; others included the land to create Bidwell Park and the Children’s Playground on First Street.

In 1994, then-President Manuel Esteban launched Founders Week to make the historical connection with Charter Day and pay tribute to campus community members who continue to make CSU, Chico an outstanding school.