Chicago State University Founder's Day 2016

CSU Founder's Day Celebration September 2, 2016

Our Founder's Day celebration includes

  • Jazz in the Grazz Benefit Concert with Internationally Renowned Artists Ronnie Laws
  • Jazzin Healthy
  • A Day of Giving: Raising money for Textbook Scholarships for Students

One hundred and forty-nine years ago, Chicago State University (CSU) was founded under the name of Cook County Normal School. Since its founding, Chicago State University has educated and graduated more than 50,000 students and touched the lives of millions.

In celebration of our rich and long history, the University Foundation at Chicago State (TUFCS) in partnership with the CTC/CSU Alumni Association is launching our inaugural Founder’s Day on Friday, September 2, 2016. This event will kickoff CSU’s 150th anniversary celebration, which will occur in 2017.

In 2017, CSU will highlight and recognize the achievements and contributions made by our students, faculty and alumni who have help to define CSU as a premiere institution of higher learning and to shape CSU's next 100 years as one of the nation’s finest public universities through the CSU Reimagined Campaign.

Friday, September 2

    • Jazz in the Grazz and Jazzin Healthy. Ronnie Laws will serve as the main entertainment for Jazz in the Grazz, an annual jazz series hosted by CSU. This year’s series has been changed to one special concert featuring Ronnie Laws and will benefit textbook scholarships for scholars. The University Foundation at Chicago State in partnership with Chicago State University and its partners are sponsoring the concert and health screenings. information. Click HERE

    • Inaugural Day of Giving, in celebration of Chicago State University Founder’s Day. The goal of this one-day campaign is to celebrate CSU and increase support for student textbook scholarships and the CSU Annual Fund. A gift of any size will help reach the donation goal of helping to underwrite textbook support for 250 students in the winter semester of 2017.
      Click HERE

  • Advocacy Day and Voter Registration. During the day, CSU students will work to register over 500 individuals throughout the Chicagoland community to vote. Click HERE

Jazz in the Grazz participants


Jazz in the Grazz and Jazzin Healthy

HealthOn Friday, September 2, 2016 at 5:30 p.m. the Chicago State University campus will come alive with smooth and classic jazz by internationally renowned artists. Ronnie Laws will headline the concert along with his special guests performing rhythm and blues. This important evening will serve as the kickoff event for CSU Sesquicentennial Celebration and a fundraiser for the University Foundation at Chicago State. Money raised from this event will help CSU students to purchase textbooks for the winter semester of 2017. The goal is to underwrite textbooks for 250 students. Patrons will have the opportunity to purchase tickets to the Pavilion Experience where you will be provided free drinks and food and VIP seating. Limited premier VIP seats are available from $50 to $100 per person and lawn seats for $35 per person. Your contribution is tax-deductible to the extent provided by law. In addition to listening to the smooth jazz music by Ronnie Laws, patrons will have an opportunity to participate in free health screenings and vaccinations. To purchase your tickets now, please click HERE.

History of Jazz in the Grazz and Jazzin Healthy

On July 28, 2010, Chicago State University launched the Jazz in the Grazz series. Saxophonist Audley Reid kicked off the event in the Douglas Hall Amphitheatre on the Chicago State University campus at 9501 S. King Drive. This event turned into an annual series for the past five years. Jazz in the Grazz is a community-wide event. This year, because of budget constraints, the series has been reduced to one event and is being funded by the University Foundation at Chicago State University.

Ronnie Laws

Ronnie LawsRonnie Laws is the fifth of eight children born to Hubert Laws Sr. and Miola Luverta Donahue. Laws attended Stephen F. Austin State University in Nacogdoches, Texas, for two years. In 1972, Laws joined the fledgling group Earth, Wind & Fire, playing saxophone and flute on their album Last Days and Time. He left the band soon afterward, before the group achieved its commercial success.

In 1975, Laws began his solo career with the album Pressure Sensitive, which yielded his most famous instrumental song, "Always There." The song became an instant jazz-funk classic, covered by numerous artists.

In 1978, Laws released the album Flame under United Artists Records and from it a 12-inch single called "All for You" was released, as well as additional tracks from previous albums, including "Let's Keep it Together" and "Nuthin' 'bout Nuthin." The 12-inch single was his first issued in the UK, as well as the US, and paved the way for this format to be used for promoting artists' work at the time without the need to obtain the full LP.

Apart from playing saxophone, Laws also sings. Notable vocals include "Every Generation" (1980), "Stay Awake" (1981, included on the album Solid Ground) and "Mr. Nice Guy" (1982).

Laws has also recorded with numerous other artists, including Arthur Adams, Howard Hewett, Brian Culbertson, Ramsey Lewis, Jeff Lorber, Hugh Masekela, Alphonse Mouzon, David Sea and Sister Sledge.

A tribute to Ronnie Laws' aforementioned hit, "Always There," was performed in 1999 by a group of musicians including Boney James, Rick Braun, Kirk Whalum, Kenny Garrett and Larry Carlton at the Montreux Jazz Festival. The performance can be seen on the Casino Lights '99 DVD.

In June 2005, Laws' 1980 LP Every Generation was issued on CD format for the first time. The original tracks include "Young Child," "Never Get Back to Houston," "Every Generation," "Tomorrow," "O.T.B.A.," "Love's Victory," "Thoughts and Memories" and "As One."