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Weekly Update

Monday, May 17, 2010  
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Keynoter to RC grads: ‘Just step off the curb and lead your life’
Occasionally, members of the Executive Council write messages for college community. Today, we hear from John McNamara, vice president for college development.

The beautiful Coronado Theater in downtown Rockford was the setting for the third consecutive year for our commencement. Fittingly, it was a beautiful day and a lovely commencement program highlighted by the remarks of our commencement speaker, Mark Pedowitz, ‘74 and Khetsiwe Dlamini, ’10, president of the Student Government Association and student trustee on the Rockford College Board of Trustees.

Mr. Pedowitz was clearly moved to be asked to give the commencement address. Several of his close friends from RC traveled to Rockford to share the weekend with him and his wife Carolyn and hear his commencement address. He briefly charted the path his life has taken since he graduated 36 years earlier. He urged the graduates to, ". . . not try to map out each detail of your life’s journey, it will paralyze you from moving forward.” He noted that, "Today it feels like the next step you take will determine your future. It does not. It just determines your next step.” Instead, he urged the graduates to, "Just step off the curb and lead your life.”

Mark noted that he, like all of us, had to be willing to face his fear and move on with life because, "even a wrong step gets you further than standing still.” Noting that we all encounter failures along our journey, Mark emphasized these failures need to be accepted and even celebrated, because it means we are trying and learning, and our failures alter our perceptions, humble us, and create more compassion and hopefully forgiveness to others. Mark ended by noting how much of his success and happiness he owed to his wife and family, noting that without their support the life he built might have been possible but it "certainly would not be meaningful.” A rousing standing ovation greeted him upon conclusion.

Khetsiwe’s story was also one of the importance of family. She came to Rockford College after travelling 9,000 miles from Swaziland, the same journey her father took to RC some 40 years earlier. She recalled how much her father loved Rockford College and the friendships he made and kept over 40 years until his death in 2006. Only months after her dad’s death, Khetsiwe came to RC supported along the way by the friends her father made when he was here; many of those friends travelled to RC over the weekend to celebrate Khetsiwe’s graduation from as far away as Washington, D.C. Her mother and family made the trip from Swaziland. It was a moving experience to see and hear this talented and delightful young woman tell us that she found the same sense of community at RC that her father did and now realizes why he was so passionate about her attending Rockford College.

I feel blessed to be part of this special community of people, those who came before us and those who are here today, our faculty, staff and students, who carry on this tradition of a community of people who face our fears and step off the curb, and together share our successes and failures and hopefully learn from both -- and most of all realize it is our personal family as well as our RC family that make it all meaningful.

Have a great week.

John McNamara
Vice President for College Development

More on commencement
At the commencement yesterday, faculty emeritus status was granted to retirees Prof. Christine Bruun, psychology, and Phil Hjemboe, public services librarian. Honorary degrees were granted to R. Ray Wood, RC board of trustees chair and to the keynoter, Mark Pedowitz. The Phi Beta Kappa Prize went to Stacy Lidvall.

This was the first time commencement was streamed live on the Internet and it was a success. As many as 60 viewers were watching the video, says Gale Wallace, Web site administrator. To see a video of the entire commencement, go to the college’s Web site, and click on the banner. And congratulations, graduates!

Lindgren makes history by qualifying for nationals
Our congratulations to Matt Lindgren on provisionally qualifying for nationals in the 1500m run! To provisionally qualify, or "Provo,” he had to run a time of 3:54.5 (a 4:10.13 equivalent mile).

Matt ran a time of 3:54.21 (4:09.82 equivalent mile) shattering his school record of 3:59.54 (4:15.51 equivalent mile). He is the first Rockford College Regent runner to provisionally qualify in any event in the college’s cross-country and track & field program history!

Matt will attempt to automatically qualify in the 1500m this Friday at North Central College in Naperville. To automatically qualify he must run a time of 3:50.6 (4:05.97 equivalent mile). The start of the 1500m is at 5:35 p.m.

Six students will conduct research this summer
Every year, the college funds research conducted collaboratively between students and faculty. Congratulations to these students who will be conducting research this summer and thanks to their advisors!

Kimberly Greyson-Bost (Prof. Belinda Wholeben) – To research and study Gardner’s eighth intelligence, naturalistic intelligence. She will build upon the work of Erikson, Maslow, and Covey as studying other people in a qualitative fashion as a means of theory development. In fact, her ultimate goal is to play a role in saving the world from global warming, which of course, is beyond the scope of her proposed project.

Anthony Capriotti (Prof. Filiz Dik) – To research and report on "Traditional versus Reform Mathematics Education.” This topic opens up interesting conversations among teachers of all grades. His research will assist in finding out what teaching techniques cannot just improve math scores within the United States, but to also produce people who can perform everyday math skills and have the knowledge to compete in a struggling economy.

Joshua Cheeseman (Prof. Mehmet Dik) – To research and report on the topic, "The Future of Math Education: The bleak prognosis and solutions to it.” Through the research, he would like to reinforce the importance of math education among the general public, research proper usage of technology in the classroom, look at the budget situation and how it affects math education, and how government appropriates it’s funding. Joshua wants to show that no matter how discouraging the future looks, that there are still possibilities for the brighter tomorrow.

Audrey Fry (Prof.Mehmet Dik) – Will be researching "Mathematics and Music: The need for music education to coincide with math education.” She will be looking at previous studies of children brought up with and without music and what their respective math scores turned out to be. She hopes to discover precisely how long music education is necessary to assist in cognitive math skills.

Heather Goodrich (Prof. Mehmet Dik) – Will be doing research on the topic, "Traditional calculus vs. reform calculus.” She will explore two different ways that calculus is taught. This will provide her and others a better understanding of why many colleges are adapting the reform calculus approach which focuses on applications of calculus using technology heavily. The scope of this project is delineated and outcomes specified.

Amber Joyes (Prof. Filiz Dik) – To work on a research project on the topic of "living computers.” She is going to combine her knowledge of mathematics, biology and chemistry to understand silicon and bacteria capabilities of solving problems. This will give her the opportunity to learn about mathematical problems that can be solved in the world of living computers. Research will be conducted on the new advancement of E.coli bacteria having the capability to solve mathematical problems such as the Burnt Pancake Problem.

Where’s Robert?
Here’s President Head’s schedule for this week.

May 17
Northern Athletic Conference Meeting of Chief Executive Officers

May 18
Rotary Academy Celebration

95th birthday celebration for the Marlowe Center of the Community Foundation of Northern Illinois

New literary magazine editor named
Congratulations to David Smith, the new editor of Rockford College's literary magazine "Black Hole, White Light.” Dave was elected by a majority of the magazine's staff to assume editorship for next year. Because Dave has worked on the editorial board for almost two years, he is an experienced member of the club, but he will also benefit from having an excellent editorial staff.

"Black Hole, White Light” welcomes anyone who would like to work on producing a literary magazine. If you're interested, contact either Dave Smith at or Prof. Susan Porterfield, the group’s advisor.

Dr. Head named to board for new education initiative
President Head was recently named to the 12-member board for Alignment Rockford, a new initiative to bring all resources in the community to bear on improving student achievement in Rockford’s public schools. It is based on a similar model successfully put into place in Nashville.

Consider being a Conversation Partner
Tired of the same routine?? Then take 30 to 60 minutes of your week and talk to a student from another country: South Korea, Venezuela, Vietnam, Senegal, Mexico, France, Colombia, Spain … each month they get new students from around the world. Become a Conversation Partner and allow them to practice their English as you learn about their cultures, traditions, foods and more. Join them this summer and sit down for an exciting one-on-one conversation while you enjoy the weather. Contact the English Language Institute (ELI) via e-mail at or phone 815-226-4138.

Out and about
Events that may be of interest to the Rockford College community and their families.

Through May 30: "Italian American Reconciliation” performed by New American Theatre in the college’s Cheek Theatre. For more, see 

May 20: Cook’s Tour in downtown Rockford sponsored by the River District Association. Visit 10 different restaurants, all within walking distance of each other. See or call 815-964-6221.

May 22, 7:30 p.m.: 100 Men Who Cook, Indoor Sports Center on E. Riverside Boulevard. Benefits the Literacy Council. See

RC in the news

  • Professors Mehmet and Filiz Dik, math, were the subject of a beautiful feature story recently in the Rockford Register Star’s PEOPLE section. See it here.
  • Prof. Jules Gleicher, political science, was featured on Channels 17 and 23 last Monday reacting to the nomination of Elena Kagan to the Supreme Court.
  • Kelly Cooper, career services, was interviewed by Channel 13 last Tuesday about a national report listing the hottest and most lucrative careers.
  • Our open house at 5100 E. State St. Saturday brought out Channels 13, 17, and 23.
  • Commencement was covered by Channels 13, 17, and 23 and the Rockford Register Star.
  • Student Danial Petrie was the subject of a "Get to Know Me” feature in the Register Star yesterday.

Community Search
Calendar of Events

FORUM: Babes In Arms

Student Music Recital

EDP: Seminar #6 - Conflict Management and Resolution

NICNE Customer Service Workshop

FORUM: Sports Management Symposium

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