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Campus News / News

Annual Charter Day celebration highlights the University’s historic role in saving WWII victims

02/24/2020 4:58 pm

To commemorate the 173rd anniversary of the signing of Rockford University’s charter, this year’s Charter Day Convocation will showcase a dramatic reading depicting the school’s role in saving World War II victims. This event will take place on Monday, March 2, at 4 p.m. in Maddox Theatre, Clark Arts Center.

This year’s Charter Day brings to life the stories of five people whose lives had been broken by World War II and who found at then Rockford College, now Rockford University, a welcoming community that provided them opportunities and an educational environment that war had taken away from them. The presentation will be an adaptation of a chapter entitled “Rescue Stories” from the book “We Are a College at War: Women Working for Victory in World War II,” written by Rockford University professors, Christine Bruun, Catherine Forslund, and Mary Weaks-Baxter. The book weaves together the individual World War II experiences of students and faculty at the then all-female Rockford College to draw a broader picture of the role American women and college students played during this defining period in United States history.

The presentation will feature seven performers who will describe how the president of Rockford College, Mary Ashby Cheek (1937-1954), rescued refugees fleeing from the horrors of the war by welcoming them into the College community. The seven performers include Professor Emerita Christine Bruun, Ph.D. and her husband David Bruun; Professor Emeritus Rufus Cadigan, Ph.D.; Professor Catherine Forslund, Ph.D.; Professor Mary Weaks-Baxter, Ph.D.; and Performing Arts students Connor Burek, Elizabeth Dutch, and Rebekah Smith. This event also includes an academic procession of faculty in traditional robes depicting their rank, with stoles representing their respective alma maters and degrees.

There is no charge to attend, but tickets are required. This event will take place in Maddox Theatre, in the Clark Arts Center, located at 5050 East State Street, Rockford. Clark Arts is accessible. Tickets can be obtained by contacting the Box Office at 815-226-4100 or

This event is also part of the University’s spring Forum Series. View the full list of Forum Series events at