The Rockford University Forum Series presents speakers in a variety of disciplines who have achieved success both nationally and locally, and performers of stature in the arts. The Forum Series’ central programming focus is geared toward students. Lectures and performances are concerned with intellectual, social, and cultural matters of general interest to deepen and broaden students’ education at Rockford University. Participation is required for all full-time undergraduate students.

Forum Series presenters and events cover a broad spectrum of scope and genre. Events have included the Tibetan lamas from Drepung Loseling Monastery and their creation of a mandala—a sacred sand painting; Holocaust survivor Zev Kedem, the compelling speaker who worked with Steven Spielberg on the movie Schindler’s List; Oscar Arias, former president of Costa Rica and winner of the Nobel Peace Prize for his work on a Central American Peace Plan; quadriplegic Olympic bronze medal rugby player Mark Zupan; film documentarian Barbara Martinez Jitner, who produced “La Frontera;” Davar Ardalan, author of “My Name is Iran;” and traditional University events like the President’s Opening Convocation, Charter Day Convocation, and theater productions.

Admission is free* but tickets are required. Please contact the Box Office at 815-226-4100 for additional information. To request and reserve tickets, please email BoxOffice@rockford.edu.
*Except theater performances for the general public; Rockford University students receive one free ticket to each Performing Arts event upon request with valid ID.

The Forum Series’ central programming focus is geared toward students. Lectures and performances are concerned with intellectual, social, and cultural matters of general interest to deepen and broaden students’ education at Rockford University. Participation is required for all full-time undergraduate students.

Fall 2019 Lineup

View and print a PDF flyer of this semester’s events. 

President’s Opening Convocation
Friday, August 23, 12 p.m.
Maddox Theatre, Clark Arts Center

The 2019-20 Rockford University academic year begins with a formal convocation and remarks by President Eric W. Fulcomer. Held since 1851, this longtime tradition includes a faculty procession in full academic regalia.


#WhatNOW: Ending Sexual Assault-
Graham Hackett
Wednesday, September 4, 7 p.m.
Severson Auditorium, Scarborough Hall

As awareness about sexual assault grows and condemnation of toxic behavior reaches a fever pitch, many are asking, “WHAT NOW?” This program looks at how we can move our communities towards gender equality and improved safety for all, delivered with an eclectic blend of keynote and spoken word delivery.


Equity is a Foundation for Peace-
Xavier Ramey
Thursday, September 19, 7 p.m.
Maddox Theatre, Clark Arts Center

This lecture is made possible by Connect2Peace, Rockford Rotary Club, and Eliminate Racism 815.

Xavier Ramey will provide a keynote that brings the issues of social equity, community development, peace-making, and history together for attendees such that their understanding of how the relationships they choose and do not choose, impact the world itself. He will invite each listener to consider how peace requires an understanding of injustice, history, and deciding to stand up for those we often stand upon.


An Evening with Lt. Colonel Olga Custodio, USAF-
Olga Custodio
Monday, October 7, 7 p.m.
Regents Hall, Burpee Student Center

Turned away from flight school because she was a woman, Lt. Col. Olga Custodio went on to break barriers as the first Latina to complete USAF military pilot training, first to become a USAF pilot, and later, as the first Latina commercial pilot for American Airlines. Lt. Col. Custodio’s visit is in celebration of Hispanic Heritage Month and is Rockford University’s Rock Solid Success Seminar, an annual event designed to provide encouragement and motivation to all students as they pursue graduation from RU.


Rockford, World War II, and the Women’s Ambulance Safety Patrol-
Mary Rose Filip
Tuesday, October 22, 3 p.m.
Fisher Memorial Chapel

Join Veteran’s Memorial Hall & Museum volunteer Mary Rose Filip and step back into a 1940’s time capsule of Rockford’s history as she unveils the living legacy of the over 200 women of Rockford who founded W.A.S.P. Women’s Ambulance Safety Patrol on April 3, 1940.


The Anomic Bomb: Mass Murder in a Mad World-
Casey Jordan
Monday, November 4, 7 p.m.
Maddox Theatre, Clark Arts Center

More than a century ago the great sociologist Emile Durkheim coined the phrase “ANOMIE” in an attempt to describe the complex world of chaos experienced by people who committed suicide. Criminologist and forensic psychologist Casey Jordan will provide insight into anomic mass murder, differentiating between terrorism, workplace violence, and family annihilations, and end with a brainstorming session for what we can do –if anything—to identify the Anomic Bomb.


The Human Library
Tuesday, November 12, 7 p.m.
Regents Hall, Burpee Student Center

Presented by volunteers from the Northern Illinois Chapter of The Human Library and in collaboration with the Office of Global Affairs and the Jane Addams Center for Civic Engagement.

The Human Library is, in the true sense of the word, a library of people. Since 2000, Human Library events have featured human beings serving as open books, allowing interactive conversations that the audience would not normally have access to. Every human book from our bookshelf represents a group in our society that is often subjected to prejudice, stigmatization or discrimination because of their lifestyle, diagnosis, belief, disability, social status, or ethnic origin.


35mm: A Musical Exhibition
Thursday- Saturday, November 21- 23, 7:30 p.m., and Sunday, November 24, 2 p.m.
Maddox Theatre, Clark Arts Center

By Ryan Scott Oliver and directed by Professor Timm Adams, inspired by the photography of Matthew Murphy

A picture is worth 1,000 words — what about a song? Can a picture inspire a song or fifteen? In 35mm, each photo creates a unique song, moments frozen in time, a glimmer of a life unfolding, a glimpse of something happening. A stunning new multimedia musical, which explores a groundbreaking new concept in musical theatre. This intricately woven collection of stories told through song re-imagines what the modern American musical can be.

Warning: For mature audiences only. Viewer discretion is advised.



Frequently Asked Questions

What is the Forum Series? The Rockford University Forum Series presents speakers from a variety of disciplines and performers of stature in the arts. The series is designed to provide a shared experience for students while broadening their education at the University. The Forum Committee, comprised of faculty and student representatives, selects the events.

Are all students required to attend all the Forum Series events? All full-time undergraduate students are required to attend a minimum of two Forum Series events each semester. (Exceptions: student teachers and participants in off-campus programs such as Washington Semester or study abroad programs) In most cases, students who reduce their course load below 12 credits at any point in the semester must still meet the Forum Series requirement. Consult with SAS for further information on exceptions to this rule.

Is a ticket required for forum events? Yes. A ticket is required for all Forum events. Student tickets are free with a Rockford University ID card; one free ticket per student. Tickets must be obtained at the university Box Office, located in Clark Arts Center. Contact the Box Office at 815-225-4100 or boxoffice@rockford.edu.

Department Information

Box Office
Clark Arts Center
5050 E. State Street
Rockford, IL 61108
fax: 815-394-5167


Fall/Spring Hours:
Mon-Fri - 1:00 pm to 5:00 pm
Summer Hours:
Mon-Thu - 1:00 pm to 5:00 pm