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, while also seeking to connect campus to the local community. Lectures and performances are concerned with intellectual, social, and cultural matters of general interest to deepen and broaden students’ education at Rockford University and enhance the rich culture of Rockford.

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 for students* but tickets are required for Performing Arts and Sports events. Gallery shows, Performing Arts Senior Seminars, and Recitals do not require tickets. Please contact the Box Office at 815-226-4100 for additional information. To request and reserve tickets, please email BoxOffice@rockford.edu.

*Except mainstage theatre performances for the general public (tickets can be purchased by visiting ticketor.com/rockforduniversity; Rockford University students receive one free ticket to each Performing Arts event upon request with valid ID by visiting the box office or emailing boxoffice@rockford.edu. 

The Forum Series presents both Home Grown and Marquee events on the Rockford University campus in multiple locations. Please refer to the campus map for help finding venues if needed. https://www.rockford.edu/about/campusmap/

For further information on some of the events below and additional athletic schedules, please use one of the links below:

-Gallery shows https://www.rockford.edu/artslectures/artgallery/

-Performing Arts Programs https://www.rockford.edu/artslectures/performingarts/

-Athletics Department, teams, and team schedule info https://rockfordregents.com/index.aspx

Frequently Asked Questions

For any questions about the Forum Series generally or how to meet the pre-2020 requirement, contact the Forum Series Administrator, Dr. Catherine Forslund at cforslund@rockford.edu or at 815-394-5211.

Q: What is the Forum Series?
A: The Rockford University Forum series presents a variety of events: Home Grown experiences featuring RU students and Marquee events with invited presenters from off-campus.  The series is designed to provide a shared experience for students while broadening their education at the University and invite the local community to share in that expanded knowledge. The Forum Committee, comprised of faculty and student representatives, selects the events.

Q: Are all students required to attend all the Forum series events?
A: Students are no longer required to attend Forum events; however, attendance is strongly encouraged to expand everyone’s educational experiences. Students need a passing grade for any semesters of Forum (CLFS 050) before Spring 2020.

Q: Is a ticket required for Forum events?
A: It depends on the event. If required, student tickets are free with a Rockford University ID card; one free ticket per student. Tickets for plays, musicals, dance and choral concerts can be obtained at the University Box Office, located in Clark Arts Center, emailing boxoffice@rockford.edu.  If you are not a student, tickets can be purchased by calling 815-226-4100, or visiting ticketor.com/rockforduniversity. Tickets for athletic events are free for students, faculty, and staff; general public tickets are available at each game.

Spring 2024 Lineup


MLK State of Mind Address
Saturday January 13, Noon-3pm
Clark Arts Center Lobby and Maddox Theatre

The Jane Addams Center for Civic Engagement and the Forum Series at RU join 67th State Representative Maurice West, Alpha Phi Alpha fraternity, and MENtality Unchained in presenting a community dialogue about mental health and trauma. This event is free and open to the public. From noon to 1pm there is a reception and vendor open-house of local support organizations. Then, starting at 1pm, attendees will participate in an enlightening discourse surrounding mental health and the intricacies of trauma. Community and faith leaders along with mental health professionals will be actively involved in the discussions, emphasizing the importance of understanding and addressing trauma.


Performing Arts Music Recital                                      Sunday February 4, 4pm
Maddox Theatre, Clark Arts Center

This event is free and open to the public.




Performing Arts Senior Seminar
Feb 9th at 7:30pm
Maddox Theatre, Clark Arts Center

Lucy Parlapiano presents her work for completion of her degree.






Women’s Basketball Senior Day
Saturday February 10, game time 1pm, ceremony before the game
Seaver Center

Help recognize those senior students playing their last home game(s) by coming out to cheer them on!


Men’s Basketball Senior Day
Wednesday February 14, game time 7pm, ceremony will be held following the game
Seaver Center

Help recognize those senior students playing their last home game(s) by coming out to cheer them on!


Songs for a New World
February 22 – 25, (Thursday-Friday 7:30 pm; Saturday at 4pm and 7:30pm; Sunday 2 pm)
Maddox Theatre, Clark Arts Center
Director, Stephen Schellhardt

Writer and composer Jason Robert Brown transports his audience from the deck of a 1492 Spanish sailing ship to a ledge, 57 stories above Fifth Avenue, to meet a startling array of characters that range from a young man who has determined that basketball is his ticket out of the ghetto to a woman whose dream of marrying rich nabs her the man of her dreams… and a soulless marriage. Songs for a New World is, according to composer Jason Robert Brown, “about one moment. It’s about hitting the wall and having to make a choice, or take a stand, or turn around and go back.” This contemporary song cycle weaves characters and history together, illuminating the timelessness of self-discovery.


Quick Square
On Display: January 22nd-February 23rd
Closing Reception: February 23rd, 6-8pm

Paul Erschen is Department Chair and Professor of Visual Art at the University of St. Francis, in Joliet, IL and workshop leader at the ACRE art residency program in Steuben, WI. In August 2022, Erschen attended residency at Watershed Center for the Ceramic Arts ceramics in Newcastle, ME. Paul holds degrees from The Ohio State University (MFA, 2000) and Northern Illinois University, (BFA, 1998).

Gina Hunt’s practice fuses painting, sculpture, and site-responsive installation. Research interests include histories of abstraction, theories of color and perception, and imaging technologies spanning early photographic processes to spectroscopy. Working with canvas, dye, paint, scrim, and wood, her works are sites of perceptual phenomena while remaining rooted in a material-based physicality.

Gina has presented solo exhibitions at Syracuse University, The Franklin, South Texas College, 65GRAND, Western Pole and Virginia Commonwealth University School of the Arts in Qatar, among others. Two-person and group exhibitions include The Plan, STNDRD, EXPO Chicago, Tiger Strikes Asteroid, Practise, Heaven Gallery, and Circle Contemporary, among others.

Gina has participated in residencies at Chicago Artists Coalition, Badlands National Park, Hinge Arts, and Virginia Commonwealth University in Qatar. She is currently a Lecturer in Drawing and Painting at Loyola University Chicago and represented by 65GRAND.

Charter Day Convocation
The Addams Thread
Monday, February 26, 4pm
Maddox Theatre, Clark Ars Center

Celebrate 177 years of education from Rockford Female Seminary to Rockford College to Rockford University when RU President Dr. Patricia Lynott hosts an encore performance of The Addams Thread written and directed by RU’s own Prof. Deborah Mogford.

Jane Addams is indeed the renowned alumna of Rockford University; or rather Rockford Female Seminary as it was known when she graduated in 1881. She went on to do great things in the world—some of which earned her the Nobel Peace Prize in 1931. Addams recognized her alma mater as a training ground, an educational experience helping her dedicate her life to advancing social change. She christened her college classmates “The Glorious Seventeen.” These young women were her friends and inspiration for championing the social reform for women and all groups without a voice. Prof. Mogford dedicated the play to these women and the legacy they left for the current students of Rockford University.

Phi Beta Kappa Visiting Scholar—Forum Marquee Event
“The Secret Lives of Dinosaurs”
Dr. Julia Clarke
Thursday, February 29, 7pm
Fisher Chapel

Dr. Clarke is the John A. Wilson Professor in Vertebrate Paleontology and Associate Dean of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion at the Jackson School of Geosciences at The University of Texas at Austin. She will share the latest scientific discoveries about dinosaurs, including how we have started to gain insight into their color and sound. Clarke has found so much new to discover by looking down into the deep history of dinosaurs from the tips of branches on which “perch” living bird species. Her research has long centered on evolutionary innovation; how key traits and behaviors of living organisms are assembled in deep time. While her early research centered on traits related to locomotion, feathers, flight and the co-option of a wing for underwater diving, more recently she has been focused on systems related to visual and vocal communication. She also profiles contemporary paleontological practice from field work around the world to how we use x-ray computed tomography to see new aspects of anatomy. Dr. Clarke will also speak on another topic during the Burpee Museum of Natural History’s 2024 Paleofest March 1-3.

Performing Arts Music Recital
Monday March 4, 4pm
Maddox Theatre, Clark Arts Center

This event is free and open to the public.




Rockford Art Museum presents
the 83rd Annual Young
Artist Show

High School Division On Display: March 1st – March 17th
Youth Division On Display: March 23rd – April 14th

Due to the ongoing HVAC renovation project at Rockford Art Museum, the 83rd Young Artist
Show will be held at Rockford University Clark Arts Center in 2024.

The first Young Artist Show occurred in the spring of 1941, demonstrating the Rockford Art
Association’s (now Rockford Art Museum’s) commitment to young, emerging artists in the
greater Rockford area. The exhibition included 57 artworks of various media by 28 artists,
including high school upper-classmen and college-age artists. The choice to make the Young
Artist Show a part of the museum’s annual exhibition schedule revealed the museum’s
understanding of the dynamic role that art experiences and art education play in the lives of
young people.
Since its inception, the Young Artist Show has evolved and grown to become a Rockford
tradition. Today, the popular exhibition bears a reputation of excellence, expanding from its
modest local beginnings to become a regional show featuring students from public, private,
parochial and home-school settings. It is consistently Rockford Art Museum’s most popular
exhibition of the year.
The exhibition now includes two distinct exhibits that recognize and celebrate outstanding
students and the dedicated teachers who contribute to the quality of artwork submitted. The
juried High School Division includes approximately 300 artworks by over 200 high school
students. Students entering the High School Division compete for more than $2,000 in
scholarship and recognition awards. The Youth Division includes artwork in a variety of media
by kindergarten through eighth-grade students from the Rockford area. Art teachers select the
work to be included in the exhibition. About 500 students’ pieces are displayed in the Youth
Division. Both divisions of the exhibition showcase an amazing array of exceptional student
artwork and present the strength and diversity of art programs across the region.

Men’s Volleyball Senior Day                                      Saturday March 23, game time 1pm, ceremony time TBA
Seaver Center

Help recognize those senior students playing their last home game(s) by coming out to cheer them on!


Performing Arts Music Recital                                   Monday April 1, 4pm
Fisher Chapel

This event is free and open to the public.




The Last Lecture
Honoring Fr. Robert J. Verstynen
“Reflections on History”
Professor Edward Mathieu
Monday April 15, 4pm
Fisher Chapel

From 1972 until 1986, Father Verstynen was involved in Campus Ministry at Rockford College and Rock Valley College serving also as an Adjunct Professor at both schools. Funds to support The Last Lecture program were given by a generous donor in Fr. Verstynen’s memory and to promote the value of sharing lifelong experiences with students and the local community.

Since his arrival in 2017, Dr. Mathieu has been a vital pillar in the Historical and International Studies Department. Before he retires, share the wisdom of his experiences as he explores his encounters with the discipline of history throughout his career. He will discuss his sense of the evolving nature of the discipline and how that has related to his sense of self and his teaching over the years.


Ken Ludwig’s The Game’s Afoot
April 18-21, 2024 (Thursday-Saturday, 7:30 pm; Sunday 2 pm)
Maddox Theatre, Clark Arts Center
Director, Prof. Deborah Mogford

It is December 1936, and Broadway star William Gillette, admired the world over for his leading role in the play Sherlock Holmes, has invited his fellow cast members to his Connecticut castle for a weekend of revelry. But when one of the guests is stabbed to death, the festivities in this isolated house of tricks and mirrors quickly turn dangerous. Warning: show contains gunshot noises and a simulated stabbing.




Baseball Senior Day Celebration
Saturday April 20, Doubleheader vs. St. Norbert College starting at Noon
Ceremony at 11:40am
Harry C. Pohlman Field, 2301 Skyline Drive, Beloit, Wisconsin 53511
Help recognize those senior students playing their last home games by coming out to cheer them on!


Softball Senior Day Celebration
Sunday April 21, Doubleheader vs. Aurora University  starting at Noon, Ceremony at 11:40am
Harlem Community Center, 900 Roosevelt Road, Machesney Park, IL 61115

Help recognize those senior students playing their last home games by coming out to cheer them on!





Performing Arts Senior Seminars
April 26 at 7:30pm in Maddox Theatre
April 29 at 7:00pm, Fisher Chapel

Students Piper Burney, Andrew Ashley, and Yuina Sohma will be presenting their capstone projects as part of the completion of their degree. Piper and Andrew will perform on April 26th, and Yuina will perform on April 29th.

Fundraiser for The Fringe
A Celebration of 41 Years of Costume Design
Sunday April 28, 2-5:00pm
Maddox Theatre, Clark Arts Center

A costume-style show spotlighting the designs of Jeff Hendry, award winning costume designer and Rockford University professor emeritus. Master of Ceremonies will be Mike Garrigan of Channel 23 News, The Groove Hotel Trio is performing, and featured models include Mayor Tom McNamara, State Senator Steve Stadelman, State Representative Dave Vella, some RU faculty, and many more! Tickets can be purchased here. Can’t attend? Donate here.

Proceeds to benefit Rockford University performing arts students for their performances during the International Fringe Festival in Edinburgh, Scotland in August 2024. edfringe.com

Performing Arts Music Recital                                   Monday April 29, 4pm
Maddox Theatre, Clark Arts Center

This event is free and open to the public.




Across the Pond: Songs from the British Isles                                                 May 3rd, 2024 (Friday at 7:30pm)
Maddox Theatre, Clark Arts Center
Director, Prof. Timm Adams

Join Rockford University’s Regent Singers, Vocal Collective, and other members of the Performing Arts department for a festive journey across the pond to the British Isles. In excited anticipation of our performance at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival this coming August, RU’s choirs present a celebration of music from England, Ireland, Wales, and of course, Scotland. From the bawdy to the sublime, these beloved songs include “Loch Lomond,” “Wearin’ of the Green,” “What Shall We do with a Drunken Sailor?” and more. Throw in some Beatles and other pop music icons, and you’re in store for a bloody good time!

ODDS & ENDS: Senior Art Exhibition

On Display: May 10-17th
Opening Reception: May 10th, 6-8pm

ODDS & ENDS: Senior Art Exhibition showcases the best work of students graduating with a BFA in either 2D Art or Graphic Design. Students included in the show are: Madison Bruno, Paige Bruno, Quay Fort, Lime Jao, Fatima Mohamed, Payton Mohr, Angelica Ramos Ortiz, Geniss Scharnweber, and Elyse Shewan. The space will be shared for the Fingerprints magazine release party.

Good Neighbors Tea
A Celebration of Scotland
Sunday, June 2nd, 2-4:00pm
Clark Arts Center

Featuring Rockford’s Clan MacAlpine Bagpipe Band, The Music Academy, RU Performing Arts Students, and tasty treats in the flavor of Scotland

Proceeds to benefit Rockford University performing arts students for their performances during the International Fringe Festival in Edinburgh, Scotland in August 2024. edfringe.com




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


TICKETS: ticketor.com/rockforduniversity

Fall/Spring Hours:
Mon-Fri – 2:00 pm to 5:00 pm
Summer Hours:
Tue-Fri – 2:00 pm to 5:00 pm



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


TICKETS: ticketor.com/rockforduniversity

Fall/Spring Hours:
Mon-Fri - 2:00 pm to 5:00 pm
Summer Hours:
Tue-Fri - 2:00 pm to 5:00 pm