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 2020 Lineup

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

Orchesis & Rockford City Dance Concert
Thursday- Saturday, January 23-25, 7:30 p.m.
Maddox Theatre, Clark Arts Center

Produced in collaboration with various local artists under the direction of our new Assistant Professor of Dance, Lindsay Hawkins, in honor of Jayne Poor. 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.

Emily Dickinson – How She Speaks to Modern Minds and Musicians
Friday, January 31, 12 p.m.
Fisher Memorial Chapel

Presented in collaboration with the Mendelssohn Performing Arts Center.

Grammy-winning musicians explore Emily Dickinson and how she speaks to the composers, musicians, and minds of today. Through modern musical settings of her poetry, we will discover the historical context from which she spoke and how we too might speak truth to power in peaceful, poignant, and fearlessly individualized ways.

You. Me. We.
Tuesday, February 4, 7 p.m.
Regents Hall, Burpee Student Center

An interactive program on racism, sexism, and LGBTQ issues especially for college students. You. Me. We. begins with a monologue that exposes the often-unintentional ugliness of prejudice, setting the stage for a lively discussion of diversity. The program follows students as they attempt to navigate the sometimes difficult terrain of multicultural campus relationships. During talk-backs, students can confront the characters and voice their own opinions on issues of racism, sexism, and LGBTQ issues. You. Me. We. is a 90-minute program that gets college students talking.

The Power of Human Interaction:
Ken Nwadike, Jr.
Monday, February 17, 7 p.m.
Severson Auditorium, Scarborough Hall

Ken’s keynote address explores the power of positive human interaction and ways to bridge the racial divide by spreading love. The goal of this program is to create unity, civility, and build a more diverse and inclusive culture on campus.

“Triumph of Love”
Thursday- Saturday, February 27- 29, 7:30 p.m., and Sunday, March 1, 2 p.m.
Maddox Theatre, Clark Arts Center

Book by James Magruder, Lyrics by Susan Birkenhead, Music by Jeffrey Stock; directed by Professor Jeff Hendry.

A chamber musical adaption of the classic French comedy of the same name, Triumph of Love is full of delicious deception, gender confusion and comic buffoonery. As multiple romantic story lines collided, the beautiful Princess Leonide and the handsome Agis must decide which is the more powerful force: the mind or the heart.

Charter Day- World War II Rescue Stories
Monday, March 2, 4 p.m.
Maddox Theatre, Clark Arts Center

This year’s Charter Day commemorates the 173rd anniversary of the signing of the charter for Rockford University. The annual event includes an academic procession of faculty in traditional robes depicting their rank, with stoles representing their respective alma maters and degrees. This year RU presents a theatrical reading highlighting our school’s role in saving WWII victims as drawn from the book We Are a College at War, written by three RU professors. Seven performers will portray five refugee stories.

Football Physics:
Tim Gay, Ph.D.
Thursday, April 2, 12 p.m.
Peterson Auditorium, Starr Science

Dr. Gay’s visit is in partnership with Sigma Xi and the American Chemical Society.

This talk discusses a series of one-minute physics lectures given to the fans that attend the University of Nebraska home football games. Lecture topics have included Newton’s Laws of Motion (blocking and tackling), projectile motion (kicking and punting), kinematics (open-field running), and the ideal gas law (why not fill the football with helium to get better hangtime?). Laboratory demonstrations have featured Professor Gay being tackled by a 370 pound lineman, pummeled with a sledgehammer as he lies on a bed of nails, and learning the finer points of passing from Heisman trophy winner Eric Crouch. The problem of simultaneous edification and amusement of the fan in the stands is considered.

The Last Lecture
Tuesday, April 14, 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. Students will have the chance to vote for the professor they’d most like to hear give this lecture.

The Future of Climate Change:
Harold Hongju Koh, Ph.D.
Thursday, April 16, 4 p.m.
Fisher Memorial Chapel

Dr. Koh’s visit is in partnership with Phi Beta Kappa.

On November 4, 2019, President Trump announced that the United States would withdraw from the Paris Climate Accord in one year’s time. Where does that leave America and Americans in the ongoing effort to combat the harms of climate change? If, as French President Macron said, “there is no Planet B,” do we have a legal, political, and policy strategy to save this one? If so, what are its elements?

Thursday- Saturday, April 23- 25, 7:30 p.m., and Sunday, April 26, 2 p.m.
Maddox Theatre, Clark Arts Center

By Neil Simon and directed by Professor Deborah Mogford

A deputy mayor of New York and his wife have invited four couples to their Long Island home to celebrate their tenth wedding anniversary. When the first couple arrives, they find the hostess gone and the host lying upstairs with a superficial bullet wound. He is slightly incoherent. The first couple try to hide what they fear could be a scandal from the second couple to arrive. They in turn try to hide it from the third couple, and so on, until all of the guests are caught in a mad confusion of rumors and misunderstandings. This is Neil Simon celebrating farce in a true madcap fashion.

Denim Day
Wednesday, April 29, 7 p.m.
Regents Hall, Burpee Student Center

The Denim Day movement is a sexual violence prevention and education campaign. Rockford area leaders will discuss this campaign and sexual violence in relation to college students.


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