About Founders Week
Founders Week commemorates ETSU’s founding in October of 1911, and includes a variety of events that underscore the university’s ongoing commitment to improve the lives of the people of this region.
“Since it was founded as East Tennessee Normal School in 1911, this institution has served the region as a beacon of knowledge, innovation and service,” said ETSU President Dr. Brian Noland. “Founders Week is a recognition of the longstanding community support that has allowed this university to thrive, and it is also an opportunity to showcase how ETSU continues to make meaningful and lasting impacts on the lives of the people it serves.”
The roots of ETSU began to grow in 1909, when the citizens of the region sought to convince then- Governor Malcolm R. Patterson to locate the East Tennessee Normal School in Johnson City. Over the course of two years, community members worked to secure resources, persuade policymakers and build unified support for the creation of the school in Northeast Tennesseehere.
ETSU’s founders did not merely provide proposals and plans to the governor and other officials; they rolled up their sleeves and started the job. Local utility companies offered free services for the college. Business leaders donated funds, supplies, land and labor to work to build a campus and serve the people of the region.
“These acts have made such a positive and lasting impact that we are still celebrating them decades later,” Noland said.
A special event is planned for each day of Founders Week. All events are free and open to the public.
ETSU Elevates Pitch Competition
Monday, October 9
Doors open at 5:00 p.m.; competition begins at 5:30 p.m.
ETSU Martin Center for the Arts, ETSU Foundation Grand Hall
The ETSU Elevates pitch competition will feature nine projects that pair students with nine different community partners to address an economic, social or environmental issue of their choice. The students will present their pitches in front of a live audience and three judges.
Tuesday, October 10
10 a.m. (Bells of remembrance ring at 10:11 a.m.)
ETSU Remembers is an annual ceremony to honor faculty, staff and students who have passed away during the prior year. This special ceremony includes a ringing of the Carillon bells in remembrance of those the university has lost. This year’s ceremony will remember those who passed away between January 2022 and June 2023.
ETSU Heroes Award Ceremony
Wednesday, October 11
D.P. Culp Student Center Ballroom
ETSU Heroes is an annual recognition program celebrating the impactful and extraordinary service
of people across the ETSU community. The outstanding members of the university community
who have been chosen as ETSU Heroes will be honored with a medallion and a cash award
provided by the ETSU Foundation during this special ceremony.
Gilbreath Hall Ribbon Cutting
Thursday, October 12
Beginning at 3 p.m., ETSU students will offer tours of the newly renovated Gilbreath Hall – ETSU’s first building. At 4 p.m., the campus and community will cut the ribbon to celebrate the grand reopening of the state-of-the-art space located near the heart of campus.
State of the University Address
Friday, October 13
ETSU Martin Center for the Arts, Powell Recital Hall