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Illinois State University Founders Day celebrations February 18

Old Main Bell

Illinois State University will hold its annual Founders Day observance on Thursday, February 18. The day’s events will celebrate Illinois State’s heritage and traditions, and honor the accomplishments of faculty, staff, students, and alumni. Bloomington business person and philanthropist Julie Baker Dobski will be presented with an honorary doctoral degree during Founders Day ceremonies.

For more information and event registration, visit the Founders Day website.

Events will begin at 10 a.m. with the Founders Day Bell Ringing Ceremony in the Bone Student Center Brown Ballroom. Selected faculty, staff, students, alumni, and others will ring the bell 159 times to mark the University’s years of existence.

Displays highlighting Illinois State’s history and academic mission will be part of the STATE Showcase in the Bone Student Center Brown Ballroom from 9 a.m.-4:30 p.m.

photo of Julie Dobski

Julie Dobski

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 University Professor, Distinguished Professor, Outstanding Teacher and Outstanding Researchers, 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.

Julie Baker Dobski has served Central Illinois as a businessperson and philanthropist for almost 30 years. She and her husband Bob own the McDonald’s restaurants in Bloomington, Normal, McLean, and Gibson City. In 2004, she opened her first Little Jewels Learning Center and presently owns and operates three centers. She has given much of her time and resources within these two companies to support the community. As a result of her contributions to her community, she was honored with the McDonald’s People Award in 2006 and 2007, and the McDonald’s Ronald Award in 1987 and 2005. She has received numerous honors locally including Large Business of the Year, Boy Scout Award, Athena Award, and Women of Distinction Award.

Dobski has served as president of the McLean County Chamber of Commerce, American Red Cross event chair, Central Catholic High School Saints Alive chair, United Way chair, and as Bloomington-Normal Sunrise Rotary president. She currently serves as Baby Fold chair, Illinois State University College of Business Advisory Board member, BN Advantage Leadership Council member, and is a trustee for the Holy Trinity Catholic Church.

She began a local amateur theatre group called the One Nighters II, she has been involved in the Holiday Spectacular and the Nutcracker performances for many years, and she and her friends serve meals once a month at the Salvation Army Safe Harbor.

An Alumni Awards Dinner will be held that evening at 6 p.m. at the Alumni Center, 1101 N. Main in Normal. The cost for the dinner is $25 per person. For registration information, contact Alumni Relations at 438-2495 or visit the Founders Day website.