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.

Spring 2019 Lineup

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

Orchesis and Rockford City Dance Concert   orchesis forum series
Thur. – Sat., Jan. 31, Feb. 1-2, 2019, at 7:30 p.m.
Maddox Theatre, Clark Arts Center

Produced in collaboration with various local artists under the direction of our Rockford University Dance instructor, Penna Broman ’86. Rockford University’s Dance Company Orchesis was originally founded by the late Professor Jayne Poor, who is remembered for her passionate dedication to dance as an artist and educator at our institution and in the Rockford community.


Beverly Gooden forum seriesWhy I Stayed- The Complexity of Domestic Violence:
Beverly Gooden
Monday, February 11, 7 p.m.
Maddox Theatre, Clark Arts Center

In this revolutionary speech by Beverly Gooden, renowned social activist and creator of the #WhyIStayed hashtag and global movement, she discusses her personal domestic violence story, reveals the most important questions to ask victims, and outlines how we all can help. She also challenges the question “Why did he/she stay?” and reveals how the current way we interact with survivors is a house of cards. From faulty blame attribution, to designating only men as abusers, it’s easy to overlook the sheer volume of domestic violence when the issue has historically been framed as “them” and not “us”.

Jamsheed Choksy forum series

State and Faith in Iran- Recent History as a Key to Understanding the Present:
Jamsheed Choksy
Thursday, February 21, 4 p.m.
Fisher Memorial Chapel

In this Phi Beta Kappa lecture, Dr. Choksy will discuss how the country’s geography, natural resources, international relations, and domestic changes combined with foreign influences and interventions to produce a political system in which the executive, legislative, and judicial branches of government—not dissimilar to those of the US—become subordinate to a theocratic establishment.

banner for Techies featuring lighting equipment with legs and red textTechies the Musical
Thursday-Saturday, February 21-23, 7:30 p.m.
Maddox Theatre, Clark Arts Center

Two disenfranchised clans battle for survival . . .  the theater geeks of West Side High School. When sophomore assistant-stage-manager Joan sees her techie comrades ignored and belittled by spotlight-hungry actors, she leads a rebellion, sacrificing friendships and putting even her post-college ambitions in jeopardy. But as funding cuts threaten the very theater program itself, will the actors and techies be able to work together to save their high-school home? Or will vanity and the pitiless search for justice destroy them all? It’s Wicked meets West Side Story in this fourth-wall shattering pop-rock musical comedy about being weird and fighting for respect in one of the most judgmental places on earth: high school.

ronald white forum seriesAmerican Ulysses- A life of Ulysses S. Grant:
Ronald C. White
Sunday, February 24, 7 p.m.
Maddox Theatre, Clark Arts Center

In this lecture, the frequent and popular speaker, Ronald White brings history alive to provide context to today’s issues and refocuses the life of self-effacing American Ulysses who points beyond himself to a panoply of enduring values. As one of the foremost biographers of Abraham Lincoln, White will draw the audience in with new insights into Lincoln’s life and legacy as a lawyer, politician, and president.

Katherine Silvan forum seriesArt of Self-Care:
Katherine Silvan
Monday, March 4, 12 p.m.
Fisher Memorial Chapel

In this workshop/lecture, Rev. Katherine Gray Silvan engages her audience in the Art of Self-Care. Katherine makes the distinction between being selfish and self-full and teaches students how to assess their perceptions regarding self-care and to set honest boundaries for themselves. This workshop explores healthy living, healthy giving and healthy believing; helping the audience understand the connection between our thinking and beliefs and how we are feeling and doing in our lives. Katherine will introduce and explore short and simple techniques for creating skills in self-care that help navigate a diverse world.

charter day forum seriesCharter Day
Monday, March 4, 4 p.m.
Maddox Theatre, Clark Arts Center

This year’s Charter Day commemorates the 172nd anniversary of the signing of the charter for Rockford University. The annual event will include special speaker and Board of Trustee member Jonathan Whitlock, and an academic procession of faculty in traditional robes depicting their rank, with stoles representing their respective alma maters and degrees.

Evie Ladin and Keith Terry forum seriesHolding Culture in the Body- Body Music and American Vernacular Dance:
Evie Ladin and Keith Terry
Tuesday, March 26, 7 p.m.
Fisher Memorial Chapel

Keith Terry, Artistic Director of the International Body Music Festival (IBMF) and Evie Ladin, Executive Director of the IBMF, are artists whose work explores the intersection of music, dance and culture through the human instrument. Body Music, also known as body percussion or body drumming, is the oldest music on the planet. This hands-on seminar will introduce you to the sonic exploration of the instrument we all share, with skilled performances by the duo, and discussion of how the human arts shift and change with the political landscape.

Kyle Tran Myhre forum seriesPage.Stage.Engage- An Introduction to Spoken Work as Practice and Culture:
Kyle “Guante” Tran Myhre
Wednesday, April 3, 7 p.m.
Maddox Theatre, Clark Arts Center

Across the globe, the spoken word movement has reignited poetry as a force for artistic expression, critical dialogue, and community-building. As both a specific form (writing poetry that is meant to be shared aloud) and a deeper cultural practice (tracing its roots back millennia), spoken word creates space for all of us to tell our stories, make our values concrete, and speak up about the issues and ideas that matter to us. Join two-time National Poetry Slam champion Kyle “Guante” Tran Myhre for a performance and discussion on these topics and more.

last lecture forum seriesLast Lecture
Tuesday, April 16, 4 p.m.
Fisher Memorial Chapel

The Last Lecture is meant as an honor to recognize a professor who is greatly admired by the campus community.  By being honored, the professor is asked to give the lecture he or she would give if they knew it would be their last.


denim day forum seriesDenim Day
Wednesday, April 24, 7 p.m.
Regents Hall, Burpee Student Center

The Denim Day movement is a sexual violence prevention and education campaign. A panel of speakers from the Rockford area will discuss and answer questions focusing on sexual violence and college students.  Wear jeans with a purpose, as a visible means of protest against the misconceptions that surround sexual assault. There is No Excuse and Never An Invitation to Harass, Abuse, Assault, Rape.

all shook up forum seriesAll Shook Up
Thursday-Saturday, April 25-27, 7:30 p.m. and Sunday, April 28, 2 p.m.
Maddox Theatre, Clark Arts Center

This happy musical is inspired by and featuring the songs of Elvis Presley. It’s 1955, and into a “square” little town in a “square” little state rides a guitar-playing young man who changes everything and everyone he meets in this hip-swiveling, lip-curling musical fantasy that’ll have you jumpin’ out of your blue suede shoes with such classics as “Heartbreak Hotel,” “Jailhouse Rock,” and “Don’t Be Cruel.”

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