Update—February 22, 2016

The Rockford University Board of Trustees announced today that Eric Fulcomer, Ph.D., has been appointed as the 18th President of Rockford University, and to succeed Robert L. Head, Ph.D., who is retiring June 30, 2016. Dr. Fulcomer is the current Vice President for Enrollment Management at Rockford University and has more than two decades of leadership experience in higher education. Read more…

At a press conference on Feb. 22, 2016, Jim Keeling, Board of Trustees Vice-Chair and Chairman of our Presidential Search Committee, announced that Dr. Eric Fulcomer will be the next president of Rockford University.

Update—January 19, 2016

The Presidential Search Committee is pleased to announce that the Committee has selected four finalists for Rockford University’s next president. Each finalist will visit the University’s campus to meet via open forums with faculty, staff, students, alumni, community leaders, and members of the Board of Trustees on one of the following dates: January 25, 2016; January 27, 2016; February 1, 2016; and February 3, 2016. The Board of Trustees will be making a final decision regarding the selection of Rockford University’s 18th president after the campus visits and search process are complete.


Rockford University, a co-educational, four-year private institution in Rockford, Illinois, invites nominations and applications for the position of President.  In February 2015, Dr. Robert L. Head, Rockford University’s 17thpresident, announced his retirement effective June 30, 2016, the date his current contract concludes.

Rockford Female Seminary was chartered in 1847, became Rockford College in 1892, and became fully coeducational in 1958. On July 1, 2013, the College transitioned to Rockford University. The University has nearly 16,000 alumni living around the world and seeks to educate men and women to lead responsible lives by means of a curriculum grounded in liberal arts learning and complemented and extended by professional and practical experience. Through the total academic and co-curricular experience, Rockford University’s mission is to prepare students for fulfilling lives, careers, and participation in a modern and changing global society. The University has more than 80 majors, minors and concentrations, and its degrees are extended to include an adult accelerated degree completion program for a B.S. in Management Studies as well as two master’s programs, a Master of Business Administration (MBA) and a Master of Arts in Teaching (MAT).

Rockford University is home to one of only 11 Phi Beta Kappa (PBK) chapters in Illinois, the most prestigious honor society in the United States. Named by The Princeton Review as a Best Midwestern College and as a US News & World Report Tier One Best Midwest Regional University, Rockford University currently serves approximately 1,300 full- and part-time students, including a steadily increasing number of international students. In addition, the University has an established legacy in service learning that includes a strong community-based learning component embedded in its curriculum. The University’s distinguished and accomplished alumni are noted leaders and shapers of the communities in which they live. Their accomplishments include: developing the use of ACE inhibitors in the treatment of heart attacks, serving on the Bell Labs team that invented fiber optics and the LED, testing the first artificial heart valve in humans, manufacturing gears for NASA rovers to Mars, North Carolina and Illinois Teachers of the Year, serving as president of ABC Studios and The CW Network, and earning the Nobel Prize for Peace.

Like many small private institutions, Rockford University has not gone without its share of challenges. As we enter our search for the 18th president, we do so in a position of strength. Under Dr. Head’s presidency,

  • Total net assets have increased by $17 million to $22 million.
  • Additional programs to engage the community in meaningful partnerships have been developed.
  • Undergraduate enrollment is at an all-time high, and MBA enrollment is at an all-time high from its inception in 1984.
  • Fall-to-fall retention has increased by more than 14 percent.
  • The endowment has grown by more than $4 million to $14 million on the strength of $3 million raised.
  • Each of the last nine fiscal years have ended with positive operating income.
  • Substantial and continuous improvements to the campus infrastructure, including $5 million renovation to the Burpee Student Center.

The University enters this presidential search with tremendous hope and optimism. 168-years in the making, the University continues its proud legacy as a transformative educational force in the community.

On October 8, 2015, the University proudly announced the public phase of our capital campaign, Rock Solid & Ready: The Campaign for Rockford University. Through this campaign, we will raise $17.3 million to enhance our campus environment and the student experience. As of the public launch, we have raised $10.7 million toward the $17.3 million goal.

More About Rockford, Ill.

Located in northern Illinois just 90 miles from Milwaukee, Wisconsin, and Chicago, the City of Rockford is situated on a scenic riverfront and is home to 150,000 people who enjoy an urban atmosphere with the resources and benefits of a larger regional, combined statistical area of over 450,000. Known as the “City of Gardens,” Rockford has 7,000 acres of parks and public gardens. Within a few miles of the Rockford University campus, there are numerous restaurants, theaters, clubs, coffeehouses, museums, and galleries.

More information about Rockford:

Presidential Profile

The new President will report to the Board of Trustees and shall be the Chief Executive Officer of the University. The ideal candidate must have the following:

  • Exceptional skills in fiscal management and fundraising
  • A comprehensive understanding of current issues and opportunities in national and international education
  • A strong commitment to the liberal arts
  • The skills necessary for building important relationships for growth of the University
  • Attention to academic growth, relevance, and excellence
  • Excellent communication and interpersonal skills
  • A strong community presence

Search Process and Timeline

Hyatt-Fennell is assisting Rockford University in the search process. Nominations and application materials should be submitted via email to Cheryl Hyatt at Applications include a letter of interest, a current resume/cv and complete contact information for five professional references. Deadline is October 26, 2015.Applications will be reviewed as they are received. All applications and nominations will be considered highly confidential. Rockford University is an Equal Opportunity Employer.


Search Committee

The Presidential Search Committee is a strong, representative group of the Rockford University campus community. It consists of six trustees who are not employed by the University: Charles Box, Helen Hill ’70, Sunil Puri ’82, Barbara Tanaglia ’73, Ray Wood ’10H and Jim Keeling. Three members of the faculty (one from each of the three academic colleges of the University): Deborah Breiter, Ph.D., Dean of the College of Science, Math and Nursing and Bartels Professor of Chemistry/Biochemistry; John Burns, Ph.D., Department Chair and Associate Professor of Modern and Classical Languages & Religion; and Hank Espensen, M.A., C.P.A., Professor of Accounting. There are also three staff members serving: Belinda Wholeben, Ph.D., Interim Vice President of Academic Affairs and Provost; Nellie Miller, Director of Marketing; and Maurice West, II, Director of Career Development. In addition, the President of the Student Government Association, Monica Parsons ’16, is also a member of the committee.

Presidential Search Committee
Rockford University
5050 E. State Street
Rockford, IL 61108

Jim Keeling, Chair and Vice Chairman of the Board of Trustees


Released in 2014, our Regional Economic Impact Analysis quantified the added value Rockford University generates for our regional community. In total, Rockford University and our students generated an additional $118.1 million in income to the economy.