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
*Except theater performances for the general public; Rockford University students receive one free ticket to each Performing Arts event upon request with valid ID.

Spring 2017 Forum Schedule

Orchesis Student Dance Company
Thursday—Saturday, Jan. 26—28
7:30 p.m.
Maddox Theatre, Clark Arts Center

The Rockford University Orchesis Dance Company presents their annual concert of classical and contemporary dance. New works by dance faculty members Amy A. Wright and Mitchell Stolberg include ballet, modern, dance theatre, contemporary jazz, and tap.
$12 adults, $9 students and seniors


C.L. Lindsay
Tuesday, Jan. 31
7 p.m.
Maddox Theatre, Clark Arts Center

Attorney, author, and student advocate C.L. Lindsay will explain how the law applies to the more sordid parts of the college experience. Learn the legal aspects of consensual sexual issues, contraception, STDs,


14 Traits of leadership:
Chris Czarnik
Wednesday, Feb. 8
3 p.m.
Severson Auditorium, Scarborough Hall

Leadership is hard to define but easy to see. This seminar analyzes the fourteen traits that leaders must demonstrate on a daily basis in order for others to follow them and for you to lead your own life. We will also discuss the most common mistakes that new leaders make and how to avoid them. Chris Czarnik is a national career search expert with 12 years of job search counseling and motivational speaking experience. His innovative approach to job search has helped thousands of people land rewarding careers.


The Great American
Trailer Park Musical
Thurs.—Sat., Feb. 23—25, at 7:30 p.m.
Sun., Feb. 26, at 2 p.m.
Maddox Theatre, Clark Arts Center

You’ll want to sing along with The Great American Trailer Park Musical, a naughty, bawdy, mischievous, and dysfunctional Florida community set to music. More info >>

$12 adults, $9 students and seniors

Rockford University students receive one free ticket to each Performing Arts event upon request with valid ID.


Charter Day
Monday, Feb. 27
4 p.m.
Maddox Theatre, Clark Arts Center

The 170th anniversary of the signing of the charter for Rockford University includes an academic procession of faculty in traditional robes depicting their rank, with stoles representing their respective alma maters and degrees. This year’s speaker will be Beloit College President Scott Bierman.



Breaking Down Walls & Building Bridges:
Che “Rhymefest” Smith
Tuesday, March 14
7 p.m.
Maddox Theatre, Clark Arts Center

Che “Rhymefest” Smith discusses how citizens can use positions of leverage to address issues of police brutality, systematic biases, and lack of services. As a writer, artist, activist, political organizer and teacher, Che has cracked glass ceilings and shattered negative stereotypes about hip-hop. Among other awards, he won a Grammy for co-writing “Jesus Walks” with Kanye West and an Academy Award for his work on the song “Glory,” featured in the film Selma.


Robert Wittman
Monday, March 20
7 p.m.
Maddox Theatre, Clark Arts Center

Called “the most famous art detective in the world,” Robert Wittman founded the FBI’s National Art Crime Team and served for 20 years as the FBI’s investigative expert in this field. He is responsible for recovering more than $300 million in stolen art and cultural property around the world. Since retiring from the FBI in 2008, he authored The New York Times best-seller Priceless: How I Went Undercover to Rescue The World’s Stolen Treasures. He speaks about his FBI career leading audiences through notorious art heists and incredibly daring undercover recoveries.


Penelope J. Boston
Thursday, April 6
4 p.m.
Severson Auditorium, Scarborough Hall

Dr. Penelope Boston is the director of NASA’s Astrobiology Institute. Prior to joining NASA, Boston founded and directed the Cave and Karst Studies Program at New Mexico Tech, where she also served as a professor and led their Earth and environmental sciences department as chair. She also served from 2002 to 2016 as associate director of the National Cave and Karst Research Institute, a congressionally mandated institute in Carlsbad, New Mexico.


A Flea in Her Ear
Thurs.—Sat., April 27—29, at 7:30 p.m.
Sunday, April 30, at 2 p.m.
Maddox Theatre, Clark Arts Center

Paranoia, infidelity, and lechery take center stage in raucous bedroom farce A Flea in Her Ear, a hysterical cocktail of chaos that could only have been devised by the master of comic stagecraft, Feydeau. More info >>

$12 adults, $9 students and seniors

Rockford University students receive one free ticket to each Performing Arts event upon request with valid ID.



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