ROCKFORD — Mutual success for Rockford College and the Rockford School District is more important to the community than one or the other alone.
That was the message Rockford Superintendent LaVonne Sheffield delivered Wednesday at the college, where she was the keynote speaker for the Charter Day Convocation celebrating the 163rd anniversary of the college’s charter.
Both the School District and the college have an obligation to the community, to reach children as early as possible in education and push them through college, she said.
"This is our obligation, our responsibility, together,” Sheffield said.
"The long-term viability of Rockford College is important to our success, as well.”
Sheffield and Rockford College staff donned academic regalia Wednesday.
"Students get a chuckle out of seeing us look silly” in the long sleeves, stripes and hoods, said
Stephanie Quinn, executive vice president and college dean.
But they also look forward to the time they get to wear their own version, she said.
"These costumes represent thousands of years of tradition from the founding universities,” she said.
Sheffield commended Rockford College and its students for the work they do, and thanked the college for its partnership with the School District.
The college is a key part in Sheffield’s vision for educating children from birth through a college bachelor’s degree.
"If we accomplish this sort of natural or seamless passing of the torch, we build a more literate Rockford, a more thoughtful Rockford and a more progressive Rockford.”
The college and the district share a common goal.
"Your mission and our mission are intertwined,” she said. "The city of Rockford needs Rockford College. We need you to develop our work force. Educate the graduates of our high schools and return them to our community.”
Reach staff writer Cathy Bayer at firstname.lastname@example.org or 815-987-1395.