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Campus News / News

161st Commencement Ceremony is May 17; Laura Ling to provide key note address

05/15/2015 11:43 am

Updated May 15, 2015
Contact: Rita Elliott, Director of Communications, 815.226.3374


Rockford University’s 161st Commencement Ceremony will be held on Sunday, May 17, at 2:00 p.m., at the Coronado Performing Arts Center in downtown Rockford. Bachelor of Arts, Bachelor of Fine Arts, Bachelor of Science, Bachelor of Science in Management Studies, Bachelor of Science in Nursing, Master of Arts in Teaching and Master of Business Administration degrees will be awarded to approximately 385 students. The 2015 graduates are from 30 states and 9 countries, including Bosnia and Herzegovina, England, China, Ireland, Kyrgyzstan, Lebanon, Palestine, Mexico and Ukraine. 279 will graduate with an undergraduate degree and 106 from our graduate programs.

‌Due unforeseen circumstances, the originally scheduled speaker Judy Smith, is unable to attend. The University is pleased to announce that noted journalist Laura Ling will provide the keynote address. In August 2009, the world watched as former president Bill Clinton landed back in the United States after securing Ling’s release, along with her colleague, Euna Lee, from captivity inside the most isolated country on earth: North Korea. Ling had been reporting on a story about the trafficking of North Korean women when she was violently apprehended by North Korean soldiers along the Chinese-North Korean border. Sentenced to 12 years in a labor prison, Ling endured months of captivity, which ended with a dramatic and unexpected turn of events.

Before her capture, Ling spent more than a decade shining a light on untold stories from around the world. She started her career in journalism as a producer at Channel One News and then joined Current TV as head of its journalism department. She also worked as a correspondent covering issues including slave labor in the Amazon, Mexico’s drug war, Internet censorship in China, and women’s rights in Turkey.

She is also the host of E! Investigates, a series of hour-long shows that tackle hard hitting stories.

Ling is co-author, with her sister, journalist Lisa Ling, of “Somewhere Inside: One Sister’s Captivity in North Korea and the Other’s Fight To Bring Her Home.”

Tickets are required for attendance. Due to space constraints, tickets are limited to degree candidates and their guests. Tickets will not be available at the door of the Coronado Theatre.