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ESU Celebrates Founders’ Day 2024 + Day of Giving

Emporia State University faculty, staff, students, alumni and friends celebrate 161 years of educational excellence and opportunity with the annual Founders’ Day celebration on Thursday, Feb. 15. The event includes a lunch beginning at 11:30 a.m. in Webb Hall on the second floor of the Memorial Union. A program will follow at noon.

The public is invited, and reservations may be taken until noon Friday, Feb. 9. Register online:

Founders’ Day pays tribute to the foresight of the Kansans who established the Kansas State Normal School in 1863. The first day of classes was Feb. 15, 1865.

ESU’s third annual Day of Giving coincides with Founders’ Day giving Hornets and friends a chance to rally together to grant opportunities that transform lives and celebrate Hornet Nation. Events for the day include a matching fund of more than $43,000 made possible by Foundation Trustees and an Alumni Association Board Member, challenges, prizes and more. Full details on the Day of Giving can be found online.

The program beginning at noon Feb. 15 will include a City of Emporia proclamation and other recognitions, cake cutting and a performance by the ESU choir. The winners of the annual 1863 scholarship contest will also be announced at the luncheon. For the competition, students submit essays answering the question “How has Emporia State University changed your life?” Entries are judged by Roe R. Cross Distinguished Professors from across campus. Two winners are selected with one receiving $1,000 and the other $863.

The week’s events will also see the ribbon-cutting for Corky’s Cupboard, the student food pantry newly relocated to a larger, more functional space in the Memorial Union. Corky’s Cupboard served over 530 students during the 2022-23 academic year and is stocked through a variety of food drives and cash-based fundraisers. The ribbon-cutting will be on Friday, Feb. 16 at 3 p.m.