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Founders Day observance, February 15

giant bell covered in show and surrounded by wintery landscape.

The Founders Bell on the Quad of Illinois State University.

Craig T. Bouchard smiling at the camera

Craig Bouchard

Illinois State University will hold its annual Founders Day observance on Thursday, February 15. The day’s events will celebrate Illinois State’s heritage and traditions, and honor the accomplishments of faculty, staff, students, and alumni. CEO, best-selling author, and Illinois State University alumnus Craig T. Bouchard ’75, M.S. ’77, will receive an honorary doctorate of science degree during the Founders Day Convocation.

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

Events will begin at 10 a.m. as selected faculty, staff, students, alumni, and others participate in the Founders Day Bell Ringing Ceremony in the Brown Ballroom of the Bone Student Center. Displays highlighting Illinois State’s history and academic mission will be part of the STATE Showcase in the Brown Ballroom from 9 a.m. to 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 $30 per person. For registration information, contact Alumni Relations at 438-2586 or visit the Founders Day website.

Bouchard is the chairman and CEO of Braidy Industries Inc. Braidy Industries is building the first greenfield aluminum mill in the United States in 35 years, a $1.4 billion project employing 600 people in Ashland, Kentucky. Bouchard’s industry leadership roles have also included being chairman and CEO of Real Industry, Inc., which, through its subsidiary Real Alloy, became the world’s largest independent recycler of aluminum; president and CEO of the risk management software company NumeriX; and senior vice president at First National Bank of Chicago.

During his career, Bouchard founded Shale-Inland, the nation’s leading distributor of stainless steel pipe, valves, fittings, and other fabricated parts to the U.S. energy industry; and co-founded Esmark, Inc., which grew to be the fourth-largest American steel company.

Bouchard is the co-author of the New York Times best-seller The Caterpillar Way: Lessons in Leadership, Growth, and Shareholder Value. The book was released in October of 2013, reaching number one on the Barnes & Noble Best Seller List, and number eight on the New York Times Best Seller list in the business category. His book The Adventures of Ai was one of the world’s popular children’s book projects of 2014. The book was translated into Japanese, Mandarin, Spanish, and Arabic, with the accompanying Adventures of Ai video game, achieving 200,000 downloads globally on Apple iTunes, Google Play, and Samsung. The project benefited 18 children’s charities around the world.

Bouchard holds a bachelor’s degree in social sciences education and a master’s degree in economics from Illinois State University, and an MBA from the University of Chicago. He was elected to the Hall of Fame of the Illinois State University College of Arts and Sciences in 2008. He is a member of the board of directors of New York REIT, Inc., and is on the leadership board of the Department of Athletics at Duke University. An alumnus of Leadership Greater Chicago, he was a finalist for the Ernst and Young Entrepreneur of the Year award in Illinois in 2005.

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