image of Jane Lynch

Jane Lynch

Illinois State University will hold its annual Founders Day observance on Thursday, February 16. The day’s events will celebrate Illinois State’s heritage and traditions and honor the accomplishments of faculty, staff, students, and alumni. Emmy and Golden Globe winner Jane Lynch ’82 will receive an honorary doctoral degree during the Founders Day Convocation.

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 160 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.

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 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.

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 438-2586 or visit the Founders Day website.

An actress, singer, comedian, and Illinois State theatre alumna, Lynch received an Emmy (2010) and a Golden Globe (2011) for her portrayal of cheerleading coach Sue Sylvester on the Fox musical-comedy series Glee. She is also the two-time Emmy Award-winning host of NBC’s Hollywood Game Night. Her other television credits include Criminal Minds, Party Down, Lovespring International, Two And A Half Men, The L Word, Arrested Development, and The West Wing.

Lynch’s film credits include Mascots, The Three Stooges, The 40-Year-Old Virgin, Role Models, Julie & Julia, the mockumentary films Best in Show and A Mighty Wind, and the parody of the NASCAR world, Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby.

Raised in Dolton, just south of Chicago, Lynch earned a bachelor’s degree in theatre from Illinois State and a Master of Fine Arts degree in theatre from Cornell University. She credits Illinois State theatre professors Jean Scharfenberg, Don LaCasse, and Alvin Goldfarb as early influences on her acting career.

After earning her degrees, Lynch cut her theatrical teeth with The Second City comedy troupe and Steppenwolf Theatre in Chicago. Other stage work in Chicago included a performance as Carol Brady in the Annoyance Theatre presentation of The Real Live Brady Bunch. She made her Broadway debut in the 2013 production of Annie and embarked on her own live concert tour, See Jane Sing, with Kate Flannery, Tim Davis, and The Tony Guerrero Quintet. This past year, they released A Swingin’ Little Christmas, which made the Billboard top ten jazz albums list.