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Regent Weekly

Monday, November 15, 2010  
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RC trustee Sunil Puri reflects on trip to India with President Obama
A message from college president Robert L. Head, Ph.D.

Dear students, faculty and staff:

Two months ago, President Obama appointed Rockford College graduate and trustee Sunil Puri to the President’s Advisory Commission on Asian-Americans and Pacific Islanders. At the time of the announcement the President said, "Our nation will be well-served by the skill and dedication these men and women bring to their new roles. I look forward to working with them in the months and years ahead." One of the first orders of business for Mr. Puri was to join a delegation of leaders on a trip to India earlier this month where he spent two days in his home town of Mumbai. This was his third time traveling to India with a U.S. President; the previous visits were with President Clinton.

President Obama’s stated purposes included creating opportunities for a higher education collaboration between the two countries. With half of its 1.1 billion in population being under 30 years of age, India is a large market for student recruitment. In a Wall Street Journal article, Kapil Sibal, India’s minister of human resource development, asserted that he seeks the assistance of foreign institutions in increasing the percentage of India’s high school graduates who enroll in college from 22 percent to 30 percent by 2020.

Between 2005 and 2009, the U.S. realized a doubling of exports to India. The trip had a second and likely primary purpose of furthering trade opportunities with this rapidly growing economy.

I had an opportunity to speak to Mr. Puri about his experience. He pointed out that he would share his thoughts as an individual citizen and not as a member of the commission or as a representative of the President. Sunil emphasized that the visit to India was the longest visit by President Obama to any foreign nation and that commitment of time was congruent with the significance and magnitude of the opportunity. He firmly believes that the positive results from this visit from the President and an estimated 25 of the Fortune 100 Chief Executive Officers is just scratching the surface as only 2 percent of U.S. exports go to India, yet India makes up nearly one-fifth of the world's population. Sunil also notes that with 350,000 people in its middle class, India presents an "incredible opportunity for U.S. firms.” Significantly, he believes that somewhere between 75,000 and 100,000 high tech and professional jobs will be created because of the groundwork laid during this important trip.

Noting Mr. Puri’s success as founder and owner of First Rockford Group; knowing the validity of his instincts; and hearing his enthusiasm for the potential of stronger economic collaboration between the U.S. and India, I know that we are in for positive outcomes.

Have a great week!

Robert L. Head, Ph.D.
President 


 
Rockford College joins worldwide movement to transform oppression into opportunity for Third World women

A group of Rockford College students, faculty and staff is working with community members to do their part in eliminating brutality inflicted on Third World women while promoting education and financial empowerment to produce a more prosperous and peaceful world.

The project, called "Half the Sky,” is based on the New York Times best-selling book by Nicholas Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn, a husband-wife team.

The book follows the stories of extraordinary women around the world as they struggle to overcome oppression. Kristof and WuDunn focus on five major problems facing women – lack of access to education, sex trafficking, maternal mortality, violence and lack of access to business capital and employment opportunity. They argue that empowering women is the key to alleviating poverty and uplifting communities in developing countries.

Led by Rockford College board member Jim Keeling and his wife Pam, the group hopes to engage as many local people as possible by getting them to read the book prior to a March 15, 2011 lecture by WuDunn at Rockford College.

The group plans to reach out to book clubs, schools, non-profit groups, businesses and anyone else they can get involved in the movement. Other related activities include lectures and symposia with speakers on Third World issues and solutions. These topics are also being studied in Rockford College courses throughout the year.

In order to promote self-sufficiency, the group plans to raise money for what are called "microfinance funds,” loans directed to specific women in Third World countries with identified goals for self-sufficiency.

If a woman had a skill like sewing, for instance, and could make a living at it, she would receive a start-up loan which would be repaid over time. Rockford College, under the leadership of Associate Professor J.J. Asongu, has formed a Microfinance Club with 50 Rockford College students as its founding members to study microfinance; launch microfinance projects; and raise funds for such loans and then disbursing them to individuals who can benefit.

The college, through its Jane Addams Center for Civic Engagement led by Lindsay Kent, has already become involved in the "Half the Sky” effort, selling "Beads for Life,” arranging book discussions, and observing the International Day of Peace held September 21. A film festival on relevant topics is also in the works.

In their book, Kristof and WuDunn provide some sobering numbers about the challenges and opportunities for women in Third World countries:

· More girls have been killed in the last 50 years, precisely because they were girls, than men were killed in all the wars of the 20th century.

· It is impossible for countries to climb out of poverty if only a fraction of women (9 percent in Pakistan, for example) participate in the labor force. China’s meteoric rise was due to women’s economic empowerment: 80 percent of the factory workers in the Guangdong province alone are female and six of the 10 richest self-made women in the world are Chinese.

For more information about the local "Half the Sky” initiative, call Jim Keeling at 815-490-4900.



Check out these events this week tied in with Half the Sky

Tuesday
Book Club, noon to 1 p.m. in the Faculty Dining Room.
If you don’t have a book please contact Sarah Stringer at sstringer@rockford.edu. We are discussing Chapters 3-5.
Henna and a Movie 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. in Kent Center
We will be showing Slumdog Millionaire.

Thursday
World Bicycle Relief, noon to 1 p.m. in the Lion’s Den.
There will be the chance to win gift cards to Rockford Bicycle Co.
FREE Jimmy Johns!

We hope to see you at these great events…and don’t forget all of them will get you double punches on your JACCE punch card!



Dr. Head appointed to board
Rockford College president Robert L. Head, Ph.D., was recently elected to serve a two-year term on the executive committee of the Federation of Independent Illinois Colleges and Universities. The term begins January 1. Dr. Head says it is nice to have this recognition from peers and to be in a position to provide a stronger voice for Rockford College and independent higher education in Illinois.



Kristin Goodrich is 2010 Lincoln Laureate award winner
Each year, an outstanding senior from each of the four-year degree-granting institutions of higher learning in Illinois is awarded the Student Lincoln Academy Medallion and thereby becomes a Student Laureate of the Lincoln Academy of Illinois. Student Laureates are honored for their overall excellence in curricular and extracurricular activities.

Heather Kristen Goodrich was named the 2010 recipient for Rockford College.  Heather will be graduating in May 2011 with a bachelor of science degree in mathematics. Upon graduation, she plans to teach math to high school students.

In addition to her outstanding academic record, she has been very active in the Rockford College community. Heather tutors Rockford College students in math, is currently an RA (Resident Assistant) for a community of 38 first-year students, and is a student athlete in two intercollegiate teams – volleyball and track & field.

In addition to the above, Heather is also active in a number of Rockford College clubs and organizations – Regent Athletics Getting Excited (Vice President); Student Athlete Advisory Committee (Volleyball Representative); Senior Club (Treasurer); and is a Jane Addams Center for Civic Engagement Fellow.  A JACCE Fellow provides service on the Rockford College campus as well as in the city of Rockford and learns the processes of social advancement and community advocacy.



Club to raise awareness of sex trafficking this week
This Thursday, you can join the Feminism Club to raise awareness about sex trafficking in Rockford. Join them at the Lion’s Den at 2:30 p.m. Thursday. The group will car-pool to downtown. They’ll be talking with local business owners, putting sex trafficking posters up, and giving out sex trafficking hotline information in at-risk areas downtown! Stay as long as your schedule permits! For more information, e-mail the Feminism Club with your name and phone number.



Food Committee set to launch
Do you have concerns, compliments or questions about our food service provider, Sodexo? Join the Food Committee, sponsored by your Student Government Association (SGA). First meeting is Tuesday, November 16, 4 p.m. in the Lion’s Den. Topics may include, but are not limited to Food Options, Food Service Personnel, Dining Atmosphere, Special Dietary Needs. The committee is open to all Rockford College students, faculty and staff. 


 
Where's Robert?
A list of noteworthy events on President Head’s calendar.

November 15:
Family Business Luncheon sponsored by Alpine Bank

November 16: Alignment Rockford Board meeting

November 16: National Philanthropy Day Awards Luncheon honoring Trustee Sunil Puri as a recipient of the 2010 Outstanding Philanthropist Award

November 16: Board of Trustees Human Resources Committee meeting

November 17: Board of Trustees Executive Committee meeting

November 17: Rockford Area Economic Development Council Annual Meeting and Dinner

November 18: Board of Trustees Finance Committee meeting

November 21: Keynote speaker at the Rockford Interfaith Council Thanksgiving Service



Gleicher presents talk in lecture series
Prof. Jules Gleicher, political science, presented a public talk, "Political Themes in Hebrew Scriptures," as part of Carthage College's Hannibal Lecture Series, on November 11. Carthage is located in Kenosha, Wis.



RC Rocks
The marketing department is running a campaign to remind the campus community and the public just how much Rockford College "Rocks.” We are all doing amazing work and the stories should be shared! Each week, look forward to a new letter of "R.O.C.K.S.” as it will represent an area in which we excel. Find out more at www.rockford.edu/?RCRocks. Should you have submissions, please contact Cassie Swanson at casswanson@rockford.edu. Here is this week's story:

C: Committed to Student Success

Career assessments, internship opportunities, mock interviews, resume workshops and more – the career services office is ready to help you meet your career goals. For undecided students, career services offers the FOCUS-2 program – a tool that matches your interests with possible career opportunities. Learn more about the variety of resources the career services office has to offer at www.rockford.edu/?CareerServices.



Benefits & Wellness Fair Wednesday
The college Wellness Committee is hosting its annual Benefits and Wellness Fair November 17 in Regents Hall from noon until 4:30 p.m. Visit with more than 20 vendors, receive coupons and win great prizes. Plan to stop by!



Golden Apple Foundation Seeks Volunteers
One hundred volunteers will be reading the book "I Know I Can" in 3rd grade classrooms November 16 – 18. The book is a fun story that inspires young children to plan on going to college and encourages positive behaviors that are necessary to be successful in school. Volunteers will wear their college logo to the school, read the book and engage students in discussion about their dreams. There are a number of openings in different schools. If you are available one of these days please feel free to contact Lori Berkes-Nelson at 226-4180 or lbn@goldenappleofrockford.com.



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

"Spaces Within” exhibit, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Mondays through Saturdays, noon to 5 p.m. Sundays through Jan. 9, Rockford Art Museum. Imagery relating to the architecture of interior spaces will be explored through the work of Chicago artists Richard Hull and Nicholas Sistler. See intimate spaces, angles, planes, bold perspectives and exuberant color. Tuesdays are free to the public. Cost on other days is $7 for adults, $3 for seniors and students, free for members and children 12 and younger. 815-968-2787; www.rockfordartmuseum.org.

The Second City’s Dysfunctional Holiday Revue, Friday, 7:30 p.m., Giovanni’s. Spectrum School of Rockford is presenting "The Second City’s Dysfunctional Holiday Revue” show to raise money for its financial aid program and scholarships. Tickets cost $40 and include light hors d’oeuvres. Alumni of Second City include big-time stars, many of whom were on "Saturday Night Live.” 815-877-1600; www.spectrumschool.org.

21st annual Mayor’s Interfaith Thanksgiving Program, Sunday, 3 p.m., Rockford College Fisher Chapel. This year’s theme for the Rockford Interfaith Council’s annual event is "Rockford’s Diversity ... a Reason to be Thankful.” President Head is the keynote speaker. The event also includes Thanksgiving prayers from major faith groups, entertainment by Womansong Chorale and the Vietnamese Youth Dancers. Canned goods will be accepted for local food pantries. A freewill offering also will be taken. 815-633-0492.



RC in the news

· Forum speaker Kelsey Timmerman was interviewed at the college by Channel 23 last Monday before his talk on where our clothes are made.
· Barbara Swanson, education, was interviewed last Tuesday by Channel 17 on a recent report from the National Council for Teacher Quality.
· There was a fine story about our football program in last Saturday’s Rockford Register Star. Several RC students and staff were quoted. You can see it here.

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