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. Some recent 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 2018 Lineup

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

President’s Opening Convocation   President Fulcomer
Eric W. Fulcomer, Ph.D.

Friday Aug. 24, 12 p.m.
Maddox Theatre, Clark Arts Center
The 2018-19 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.


Timothy AlexanderRock Solid Success Seminar
Timothy Alexander

Thursday, Aug. 30, 7 p.m.
Maddox Theatre, Clark Arts Center
Alexander is a faith-driven young man who has dedicated his life to motivating and inspiring others. His drive and determination helped him become a college football player when many believed that dream was impossible due to a car accident that left him paralyzed. During the session, he will tell his story and challenge those in attendance to live a life of resiliency. Read more about Timothy’s story at Inspired by TA.

David BermanConstitution Day: Dark money, free speech and the right to know
David Berman, Ph.D.
Thursday, Sept. 13, 3 p.m.
Fisher Memorial Chapel
Dark money. The name itself carries ominous undertones, undertones that critics of this relatively new campaign-finance phenomenon of hidden contributions claim reflect a genuine threat to democracy. Its defenders argue that the dark money approach to funding political campaigns is merely an extension of Americans’ basic right to free speech. In this Constitution Day lecture, we’ll hear from Dr. Berman, Senior Research Fellow at the Morrison Institute for Public Policy at Arizona State University.

Carrie the MusicalCarrie the Musical
Thurs. – Sat., Oct. 4-6, 7:30 p.m.
Sun., Oct. 7, 2 p.m.
Maddox Theatre, Clark Arts Center
Adapted from Stephen King’s novel, Carrie focuses on an awkward teenage girl with telekinetic powers whose lonely life is dominated by her mother, an oppressive religious fanatic. Carrie tries in vain to escape her unhappy home life and be accepted by her schoolmates but to no avail. When she is grossly humiliated by her classmates at the high school prom, she unleashes her wrath in a reign of destructive chaos on everyone and everything in her path.

Leila AbdelrazaqJustice and Return: The comics and illustrations of Leila Abdelrazaq
Leila Abdelrazaq
Friday, Oct. 5, 5 p.m.
Severson Auditorium, Scarborough Hall
This Palestinian author and artist will discuss her biographical and autobiographical comics, and the way she has used the comic form to make Palestinian issues accessible to a broad range of audiences. She will also discuss the political importance of storytelling in marginalized communities, and the power of self-publishing and zine-making as a tool for activism. Read more about Leila’s art on her website here.

Neal BarnardThe Power of Food for Health
Neal Barnard, M.D., F.A.C.C.

Wednesday, Oct. 10, 7 p.m.
Regents Hall, Burpee Center
Please join Dr. Neal Barnard, president of The Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine, as he discusses the science behind what you eat. Learn how food can help you tackle cholesterol, weight problems, diabetes, and heart disease and even improve brain function. Dr. Barnard will discuss the benefits of a plant-based diet along with offering practical guidance on how to turn your health around, starting one bite at a time.

Anna Rosling Rönnlund Factfulness
Anna Rosling Rönnlund

Monday, Oct. 15, 7 p.m.
Maddox Theatre, Clark Arts Center
Factfulness is the stress-reducing habit of only carrying opinions for which you have strong supporting facts. In this interactive conversation presented with Rockford’s Connect2Peace organization, you’ll hear 10 instincts that distort our understanding of the world and how the thinking habit of factfulness can help. You’ll also learn about Dollar Street, an innovative data visualization program that uses data to depict how people really live.

Annie StorrRockford’s Daughter: Reintegrating the life of Ellen Gates Starr as a social reformer, artist, activist, and religious seeker
Annie Storr, Ph.D.
Monday, Oct. 29, 7 p.m.
Fisher Memorial Chapel
Rockford alumna Ellen Gates Starr (1859-1940) may be one of America’s most important under-studied figures of the early 20th Century. Side by side with her lifelong friend, alumna and Nobel Laureate, Jane Addams (1860-1935), she co-founded Chicago’s famous Hull-House. Part of this story is her role as an articulate conveyor of ideas, both directions, between the Progressive Midwest and the Britain of the Suffrage Movement, the Arts and Crafts Movement, the Social Gospel and Modern literary circles. Dr. Annie Storr is a Resident Scholar at Brandeis University’s Women’s Research Study Center and teaches Gallery-Based Teaching and Learning in the Museum Studies Program at Harvard.

Pierce FreelonHistory of White People in America
Pierce Freelon

Monday Nov. 12, 3 p.m.
Maddox Theatre, Clark Arts Center
Freelon is a captivating speaker and performer, whose presentations about race, politics, technology and culture leave audiences entertained and enlightened. He will provide an in-depth look at race as a cultural construct, in this multimedia presentation that grapples with the question of a post-racial America, and explores the redemptive, healing and emancipatory power of music and poetry. Freeelon is also the founder of Blackspace, a digital maker space in Durham, NC, where young people learn about music, film and coding. He has taught music, political science, and African American studies at UNC Chapel Hill and North Carolina Central University.

Athletic LogoSport Management Symposium
Thursday Nov. 29, 7 p.m.
Regents Hall, Burpee Center
Speakers from various areas in the field of sport and recreation management will be on hand to answer questions pertaining to careers in sport management and to share their tips for success. This event is organized by members of Professor Jason Hunter’s Senior Seminar class. A full list of participants is TBA.



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