Illinois State University will hold its annual Founders Day observance on Thursday, Feb. 17. The day’s events will celebrate Illinois State’s heritage and traditions and honor the accomplishments of faculty, staff, students and alumni.

Events will begin at 10 a.m. with the Founders Day Bell Ringing Ceremony in the Bone Student Center Prairie Room. Selected faculty, staff, students, alumni and others will ring the bell 154 times to mark the University’s years of existence.

Founders and members of Chicago’s famed Steppenwolf Theatre Company will present the panel discussion From Allen Theatre to Steppenwolf: Stories of American Theatre at 11 a.m. in Braden Auditorium. The presentation will cover Illinois State’s connection to Steppenwolf and that theatre’s growth to international acclaim.

Displays highlighting Illinois State’s history and academic mission will be part of the STATE Showcase in the Bone Student Center Brown Ballroom from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.

The Founders Day Convocation will take place at 2 p.m. in the Brown Ballroom. The ceremony will include the presentation of some of the University’s highest awards, including the Honorary Degree, University Professor, Distinguished Professor, Outstanding Teacher and Researcher and A/P and Civil Service Distinguished Service honors. Other awards will recognize excellence in teaching, research, service and commitment to diversity. A reception will follow the Convocation at 3:30 p.m.

Illinois State alumni Terry Kinney ’76 and Jeff Perry ’78 will receive Honorary Degrees during the Convocation. Both accomplished stage, screen and television actors, Kinney and Perry founded the Steppenwolf Theatre Company along with friend and fellow actor Gary Sinise.

An Alumni Awards Dinner will be held that evening at 6 p.m. at the Alumni Center, 1101 N. Main in Normal.