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 2017 Lineup 

President’s Opening Convocation
Friday, August 25, Noon
Maddox Theatre, Clark Arts Center

The 2017-18 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.


Rock Solid Success Seminar: Clarence Lee, Jr.
Wednesday, Sept. 6, 7 p.m.
Severson Auditorium, Scarborough Hall

Author, medical doctor, decorated air force veteran and inspirational guru Clarence Lee, M.D., provides encouragement and motivation to RU students in the annual Rock Solid Success Seminar. Dr. Lee, CEO of a personal development brand, is a columnist with two published books, has appeared as an on-air TV health expert, and was named Black Enterprise’s Modern Man in 2016. He has been named a healthcare entrepreneur to know by Becker’s Hospital Review and a Top 40 Under 40 by the Sacramento Business Journal.

Constitution Day: Judge Iain D. Johnston
Monday, September 11, 3 p.m.
Fisher Memorial Chapel

Rockford University commemorates the 1787 anniversary of the adjournment of the Constitutional Convention with a visit from 1987 RU alumnus U.S. Magistrate Judge Iain D. Johnston, who serves the Northern District of Illinois’ Rockford-based Western Division. Having founded his own law firm after working in the Illinois Attorney General’s Office and at a private practice, Judge Johnston was appointed to his current role in 2013.

International Day of Peace: Jennifer Jordan
Wednesday, September 20, 7 p.m.
Maddox Theatre, Clark Arts Center

Author, filmmaker and screenwriter Jennifer Jordan joins RU for a screening of her new documentary 3000 Cups of Tea: The Mission and the Madness, which addresses allegations made against philanthropist Greg Mortenson. Author of bestselling book Three Cups of Tea, Mortenson rose to prominence on his mission to build schools for girls in Pakistan and Afghanistan, but has left a legacy tarnished by accusations of misappropriating charitable funds. President Eric W. Fulcomer moderates a Q&A-style interview with Jordan after the viewing.

Honor Killings in the Modern World: Laila Anwarzai Ayoubi
Tuesday, October 3, 7 p.m.
Fisher Memorial Chapel

Laila Anwarzai Ayoubi, Ph.D., associate professor at Martin University and adjunct professor at Butler University in Indianapolis, discusses her book, Niki’s Honor, a powerful story about honor killing practices still occurring in many parts of the world against girls and women. A former journalist and diplomat from Afghanistan, Dr. Ayoubi based her 2015 novel on the true story of a young Pashtun girl trapped by cultural traditions in her Soviet-controlled country.

Photo by Michael Brunk/nwlens.com

Musical: Xanadu
Thursday-Saturday, October 5-7, 7:30 p.m., and Sunday, October 8, 2 p.m.
Maddox Theatre, Clark Arts Center

Don’t miss the disco party that ensues when a beautiful Greek muse and her sisters come back to earth to help a struggling chalk artist fulfill his wildest dreams. Roller skates, leg warmers, Venice Beach, and 1980s pop-rock hits will permeate Maddox Theatre in this laugh-out-loud parody of the cult movie classic of the same name.


Fourth Annual Rockford City Dance Festival
Friday-Saturday, October 13-14, 7:30 p.m.
Maddox Theatre, Clark Arts Center

The Rockford City Dance Festival, now in its fourth year, brings together professional and pre-professional dance companies from Rockford and the surrounding area, performing original modern and ballet dance. Featured artists include Rockford University’s Orchesis Dance Company, Bad Wolf Dance Theatre, Without Shoes Modern Dance Company, Maria Castello and Jacques Saint-Cyr, and more.

The Dreamcatcher Foundation:
Brenda Myers-Powell
Monday, October 30, 7 p.m.
Maddox Theatre, Clark Arts Center

Co-founder and executive director of the Dreamcatcher Foundation, Brenda Myers-Powell was a product of human trafficking at the age of 14, when she escaped an abusive home life and learned to navigate the streets of Chicago. She endured continued abuse and addiction for 25 years as a prostitute and survived to mentor young women out of the same path. Now, Myers-Powell educates on the perils of human trafficking with a raw edge not for the faint of heart.

‘War! What is it Good for?’
Phi Beta Kappa Speaker Price V. Fishback

Monday, November 13, 4 p.m.
Fisher Memorial Chapel

Is war good for the economy? Many people seem to think so, and they often cite the American experience during World War II as an example: “World War II brought us out of the Great Depression.” “Americans never had it so good, producing more guns and more butter.” We fought the War to prevent the Axis from establishing fascism throughout large parts of the world. But make no mistake. To fight the War, Americans had to sacrifice. University of Arizona economics professor Price V. Fishback, Ph.D., talks about both the amazing output of the war effort and how much Americans lived without in the process. It is important to remember, however, that the sacrifices in the rest of the world were much larger, because so little fighting took place on American soil.

The Cost of Convenience: Judge Thomas Lynch and Attorney John Hardison
Tuesday, November 14, 6 p.m.
Fisher Memorial Chapel

Cash advancements and credit cards are readily available to us, but do consumers really understand the costs that come with convenience? We evaluate the true cost of borrowing by examining credit card offers, payday loans, and other fast-cash methods that are popularly advertised to college students. Judge Thomas Lynch, who in 2012 was appointed to the U.S. Bankruptcy Court Northern District of Illinois’ Western Division, presents alongside his law clerk and adjunct instructor at the Northern University Illinois College of Law, John Hardison, an attorney who represented banks and other financial institutions while practicing at an international law firm based in Chicago.

Sport Management Symposium
Thursday, November 30, 6-8 p.m.
Regents Hall, Burpee Student 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.


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