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Weekly Update

Monday, March 29, 2010  
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RC’s move from west to east…now you know the rest of the story

A message from Robert L. Head, President

Dear students, faculty and staff,

Folklore includes the beliefs, customs, stories and myths of a people, which are generally communicated orally. Rockford has its fair share of these stories. A few weeks ago, I participated in a panel discussion for Leadership Rockford, a program for area professionals sponsored by the Rockford Chamber of Commerce. During the event a story that I have frequently heard was once again reiterated. As you have no doubt heard, the legend is that during the state’s search for a city to locate Northern Illinois University (then Northern Illinois State Normal College) in the 1890’s, the city of Rockford showed no interest in this opportunity.

Rena Cotsones, the assistant vice president for regional engagement of Northern Illinois University was a member of the same panel and shared the true story of NIU’s placement in DeKalb. She indicated that DeKalb, Rockford and other Illinois cities engaged in a very competitive bidding process. Rockford’s proposal of a campus along the Rock River was formidable and matched the selection committee’s stated objective of locating the campus near a body of water. To counter this, those in DeKalb constructed a dam on little Kishwaukee River the evening prior to the search committee’s visit to their city. The morning of the visit, the dam was removed resulting in a rush of water that filled an existing basin, giving the illusion of a much larger body of water. The search committee’s "requirement” was satisfied. Rena’s story of Rockford’s significant efforts to land NIU and DeKalb’s trickery are both supported in Earl Hayter’s The History of Northern Illinois University.

More recently I heard an interesting story of Rockford College, delivered by a local dignitary, which demands a different perspective. I can’t tell you how many times I have heard that Rockford College chose to abandon the city in 1960. The story is usually related to a desire by the college to isolate itself for philosophical purposes or to escape the changing demographics within the inner city. As interpreted by the dignitary previously referenced, the college’s decision was quickly formulated and implemented.

I don’t claim to have insight into the overall decision-making process, but there are two facts that are generally not shared when this story is told. The first is that the idea for the acquisition of land for the new Rockford College campus was conceived in 1928 according to Rockford College: A Retrospective Look. Trustee Blanche Walker Burpee led an effort to secure options on 400 acres of land to support a growth agenda established by then President Arthur Maddox. While the Great Depression delayed the acquisition, the landowners gifted much of the property to Rockford College over the next 30 years. The acquisition of property over three decades suggests a critical hole in the legend that the college reacted to demographic changes in the late 50’s.

The second fact is that the college conceived an option to remain in its original location. In 1955, President Leland Carlson shared a vision of further incorporating men into the student body and creating a plan to enlarge the campus to accommodate the growth. Rockford College: A Retrospective Look shares Dr. Carlson’s statement that a "future building program hinges greatly on whether a request to the city of Rockford that Seminary Street be vacated at its north end is granted. If approved, the property between Seminary Street and South Third Street, all owned by the college, could be one complete campus.” As this request was not granted, the decision was soon made to move east.

Folklore is always interesting, though often incomplete. Now you have additional information from which to form your own reaction to often told stories in Rockford.

Have a great week!

Robert L. Head, Ph.D.

Rockford College will expand to State St. building;
increased demand cited in business, education programs

Rockford College is expanding to an office building at 5100 E. State St., in response to growth in its master’s and accelerated bachelor’s programs, the college announced today.

The college is leasing 9,000 sq. ft. in the building’s top level and is remodeling it to accommodate classrooms, faculty offices, and meeting rooms. It’s the first major expansion on the campus in about 20 years, say college officials, and is driven by increased popularity of its professional programs.

"We have seen tremendous growth in these programs in the past several years and they are simply outgrowing the space that was set aside for them,” says Robert L. Head, college president. "The move underscores our commitment to grow our programs and at the same time, enhance the educational experience for our students.”

Head adds that classrooms should be ready for occupancy in late April, in time for the next session of the college’s accelerated bachelors of science in management studies (BSMS) program.

The BSMS is part of the college’s Return to College program and is designed for people who have commitments with work and family but want to complete their bachelor’s degree. The program, created in 2005, currently has more than 100 students and has graduated some 68 students since its inception. Another 17 expected are expected to graduate this spring.

In addition to the BSMS program, the facility will house the college’s master’s programs in business and education. The master of arts in teaching program has seen a huge increase in credit hours taken during the last three years, and more than 1,000 students have graduated during that time. The master of business administration program is equally as popular. Since it was created 30 years ago, the MBA program has had more than 600 graduates.

"These will be outstanding facilities for our programs and should significantly advance our teaching and learning,” says Jeff Fahrenwald, director of the MBA program and associate professor of business. "It’s also a sign to business in the community that we are committed to providing exceptional graduates.”

An open house for students, faculty and staff will be held April 21, 5 p.m. – 7 p.m. at the facility. A ceremony marking the opening of the facility is scheduled for May 3 at 10 a.m.

Former ABC executive to speak at Rockford College commencement
Mark Pedowitz, the former head of ABC Studios under whose leadership such shows as "Lost,” "Desperate Housewives” and "Grey’s Anatomy” were created, will deliver a commencement speech to Rockford College graduates this spring.

A 1974 Rockford College graduate, Pedowitz recently left parent company Disney-ABC to pursue a deal with Warner Bros. TV to produce shows through his own production company, Pine Street Entertainment.

During his 19 years with Disney-ABC, Pedowitz held a variety of positions. He joined ABC in 1991 as senior vice president, where he negotiated agreements to acquire programming across the network. He headed the department in 1996 and was promoted in 1999 to executive vice president, ABC Entertainment Television Group, where he oversaw all business for ABC Primetime and Touchstone Television, as well as affairs for ABC Daytime.

Other shows created under his watch included "Ugly Betty,” "Scrubs,” "Criminal Minds,” "Brothers & Sisters,” "According to Jim,” "Ghost Whisperer,” "Private Practice,” "Flash Forward,” and "Cougar Town.”

Most recently, Pedowitz had served as senior advisor to the co-chair of Disney-Media networks and Disney/ABC Television Group, where he was involved in evolving business, labor relations, and emerging media issues.

After graduating from Rockford College with a bachelor’s degree in history, Pedowitz went on to earn a law degree from John Marshall Law School in Chicago. He then spent a 12-year period working in various capacities for MCA Inc., Landsburg Productions, and MGM/UA Television. He currently sits on the board of directors for BMI and the board of the Foundation for the Academy of Arts & Sciences.

Pedowitz has been active in Rockford College alumni activities and earned an alumni award of distinction in 2009.

Rockford’s spring commencement ceremonies will be held May 16, 2 p.m. at the Coronado Theatre, 314 N. Main St., Rockford.

Prof. Luetschwager wins award at nursing event
Dr. Julie Luetschwager, associate professor of nursing and nursing department chair, won the "Distinguished Advocate for Nursing” award from the Illinois Nurses Association, District 3, during the group’s nurses’ expo last week at Giovanni’s Restaurant. The award was given for promotion of the profession and commitment to nursing education.

Also at the event, two RC senior nursing students, Kelly Broederdorf and Elroy Reiter, submitted a poster presentation and won two awards. They won the Student Poster Presentation Award and the People’s Choice Award (based on voting by attendees). Title of their poster presentation was: "Empowering Guests: How to Make Healthy Lifestyle Choices.”

Another award for excellence in nursing went to nursing adjunct instructor Christina Anderson, a nurse at OSF Saint Anthony Hospital.

Author of ‘My Name is Iran’ to discuss her book in talk at RC
Davar Ardalan, author of "My Name is Iran: A Memoir” will speak here this afternoon at 4 p.m. in the Maddox Theater. In her book, Ardalan describes what it was like to grow up in revolutionary Iran. She is now a senior producer of "Weekend Edition” on National Public Radio, heard locally on WNIJ, Northern Public Radio 89.5. The talk, part of the college’s Forum Series, is free and open to the public, though tickets are required. For more, call the college’s box office at 815-226-4100.

Gleicher attends conference studying state constitutional conventions
Dr. Jules Gleicher, political science, recently participated in a conference on "Liberty, Democracy, and Property in the American States," sponsored by the Liberty Fund, Inc., at Safety Harbor, Fla. The conference, a gathering of 16 scholars from various disciplines and institutions, examined and discussed selections from the records of the state constitutional conventions that were held in Massachusetts, New York, and Virginia during the 1820's.

Alix Sauld earns prestigious Lincoln laureate award in Springfield
Student Alix Sauld recently received a student laureate award from the Lincoln Academy of Illinois, given to college seniors in the state who demonstrate excellence in curricular and extracurricular activities.

Sauld received a medallion at the Student Laureate Convocation at the Old State Capitol in Springfield, along with an honorarium check and certificate of achievement. The event marked the 35th year that students have been honored by the academy.

A biochemistry major with a minor in art history, Sauld has been extremely active in college life at Rockford, with involvement in three clubs and volunteer efforts at five Rockford area nonprofit agencies. Her goal after graduation is to enter medical school, become a surgeon, and then work for either the Peace Corps or Doctors Without Borders.

Sauld is active in the college’s Jane Addams Center for Civic Engagement, has received a fellowship with the center and has also received a fellowship through a program sponsored by the AmeriCorps national service program.

Where’s Robert?
A weekly glimpse at the noteworthy events on Dr. Head’s calendar.

March 30

  • Meeting with Rudy Valdez, Education Liaison to Mayor Morrissey

April 1

  • Community Foundation of Northern Illinois Scholarship Committee Meeting

April 2

  • Rockford School District 205 Strategic Plan Session

Professor, staffer to sign their books of poetry in bookstore
Rockford College Bookstore is celebrating National Poetry Month with author signings. Prof. Susan Porterfield, English, and Deb Dietz, business support manager, will be in the bookstore autographing copies of their latest books of poetry on April 5 from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Attorney to discuss property rights in talk at RC
Jeffrey P. Orduno, an attorney with McGreevy Williams, Rockford, will keynote the next in a series of talks sponsored by the Center for Ethics and Entrepreneurship (CEE) at Rockford College, March 30, 7 p.m. in Scarborough Hall room 204. Topic of Orduno’s talk is "Property Rights and the Law.” The talk is free and open to the public. For more information, call CEE at 815-394-5181.

CARE invites employees to see the Cubs play the Brewers
The CARE Committee invites you on a bus trip to Miller Park in Milwaukee April 24 to see the Chicago Cubs and the Milwaukee Brewers play ball. Bus leaves at 1:30 p.m. for the 6:10 p.m. game. Enjoy watching a great game and getting to know your co-workers outside of work. Faculty, staff and GA’s invited to participate. Tickets are on sale NOW in the HR office. Cost is $50 per person and will be sold on a first-come, first-served basis. Rockford College employees may purchase up to four tickets. Seats are in the terrace reserved seating. Tailgating is permitted – please bring your own food and drinks. Exact change or check only please.

A note of clarification
Last week, we reported that Kobe College in Japan had changed its policy and would now admit men. In fact, the policy has not changed, although men are invited to participate in a 3-week cultural and educational event there.

Farewell, Kelly Olson
Our best wished go out to Kelly Olson, who is leaving her position of student activities coordinator this week to take a job with a local human service agency. Good luck, Kelly!

Out and about
Upcoming events in Rockford of interest to the Rockford College community and their families.

  • AVENUE Q is the smash-hit Broadway musical about real life in New York City, as told by a cast of people and puppets through a hilariously irreverent, Tony Award-winning book and score. The musical will make its Rockford debut at the Coronado PAC tonight, 7:30 p.m. for one performance only. Student tickets are $16.50; general admission $31.50. See or call 815-968-0595.

RC in the news

  • The Undergraduate Admission and Scholarship day last Thursday caught the attention of Channel 13, which did a story on the event the same evening. Click here for the complete story.
  • Our International Food Fair was featured in the Rockford Register Star Sunday with a nice story and photos. Student Mariana Rosas, president of the Multicultural Club and Christina Valiquette, director of the English Language Institute here, were quoted. Click here for the complete story.

Community Search
Calendar of Events

Student Music Recital

EDP: Seminar #6 - Conflict Management and Resolution

NICNE Customer Service Workshop

FORUM: Sports Management Symposium

Songs & Sonnets: A Renaissance Christmas

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