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.

Spring 2018 Lineup

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

Rockford University Orchesis Dance Company in Concert
Thursday-Saturday, Jan. 25-27, 7:30 p.m.
Maddox Theatre, Clark Arts Center
In their annual concert, Rockford University’s resident dance company will share modern, ballet, tap, and jazz dances ranging from ‘40s big band style to contemporary techniques and themes. This year’s concert will include original choreography by Profs. Amy A. Wright and Mitchell Stolberg, and guest artist Penna Broman.

Nurse Practitioner Katie Duke
Wednesday, Jan. 31, 7 p.m.
Maddox Theatre, Clark Arts Center
Nurse practitioner, media consultant, and social media influencer Katie Duke illustrates how we can turn bad decisions into success, losses into lessons, and be proud of our path. Don’t miss one of the most prominent public figures in nursing as she shares her own story of personal and professional journey.

Not Your Typical Sex talk: Justine Shuey
Tuesday, Feb. 6, 3 p.m.
Maddox Theatre, Clark Arts Center
Dr. Justine Marie Shuey of Philadelphia shares a hilarious, honest, no-holds-barred approach to sexuality education that uses puppets, props, interactive activities and audience participation to address misinformation head-on while enhancing sexual awareness. You will leave educated, informed, and empowered to take charge of your sexuality in safe, appropriate ways. Dr. Shuey has a Ph.D. in human sexuality and is working on a second doctorate degree.

The Surprising Effect of Stories on Sane (and Crazy) People: Jacquelyn Mitchard, ’73
Thursday, Feb. 15, 7 p.m.
Severson Auditorium, Scarborough Hall
The thing that authors want most is connection, which is the whole reason they write stories. The New York Times bestselling author Jacquelyn Mitchard recounts some of the most moving, and scary, stories about the way readers feel about her stories. A Chicago native and graduate of Rockford College (now Rockford University), Mitchard is a professor of creative writing in Miami University of Ohio’s low-residency Masters of Fine Arts program, and lives on Cape Cod with her husband and their nine children. She was the first author to be featured in Oprah’s Book Club.

Play: Richard III
Thursday-Saturday, Feb. 22-24, 7:30 p.m.,
and Sunday, Feb. 25, 2 p.m.
Maddox Theatre, Clark Arts Center
King Edward is on the throne, England is at peace, and all is well. But don’t worry – it won’t be that way for long because Richard is “discontented.” Gripping and outrageous, Shakespeare’s Richard III is the tale of a ruthless, power-crazed Machiavellian who lies and cheats his way to the highest seat in the land through charm, deception, and force of presence.

Charter Day
Monday, Feb. 26, 4 p.m.
Maddox Theatre, Clark Arts Center
This year’s Charter Day welcomes Rockford Mayor Tom McNamara as special speaker and commemorates the 171st anniversary of the signing of the charter for Rockford University. The annual event typically includes an academic procession of faculty in traditional robes depicting their rank, with stoles representing their respective alma maters and degrees.

Fascinating Algorithms: Pianist Dan Tepfer
Tuesday, Feb. 27, 3 p.m.
Maddox Theatre, Clark Arts Center
New York City-based jazz pianist Dan Tepfer will discuss the intersection of science and art in music, in particular the balance of intuition and emotion with the mathematical and algorithmic. At a more personal level, he will talk about how, as a performer and composer, he has opened up new avenues of creativity in his work by integrating mathematical structures, from simple processes to fractals, into his music.

Transgender and Immigrant Rights in the Fight for Liberations: Jennicet Gutiérrez
Wednesday, March 21, 3 p.m.
Regents Hall, Burpee Student Center
Jennicet Gutiérrez, best known for shedding light on the plight of transgender women in immigration detention centers through her organization FAMILIA: TQLM (Trans Queer Liberation Movement), is a transgender activist from México who resides in Los Angeles. She burst onto the national scene in the summer of 2015, when she interrupted President Obama during a speech in honor of Pride month to call attention to the struggles of transgender immigrant women. Gutiérrez believes in the importance of uplifting and centering the voices of trans women of color in all racial justice work.

Holocaust Memorial Day
With Survivor Eva Kor

Tuesday, April 10, 7 p.m.
Regents Hall, Burpee Student Center
Rockford University’s Forum Series is partnering with the Jewish Federation of Rockford for a 2018 Yom Hashoah Memorial Observance program. Our featured speaker is Eva Mozes Kor, a survivor of the Holocaust, a forgiveness advocate, and a revered public speaker. With the driving message of “never give up” in mind, she has emerged through a life filled with trauma as a brilliant example of the power of the human spirit to overcome. Kor is the recipient of the 2017 Sachem award, the highest honor in the state of Indiana. The program will also include brief remarks from leaders of Rockford’s Jewish community, a time for prayer, and a candle lighting ceremony. All are welcome.

Musical: Candide
Thursday-Saturday, April 19-21, 7:30 p.m.,
and Sunday, April 22, 2 p.m.
Maddox Theatre, Clark Arts Center
In honor of the 100th anniversary of the birth of the renowned American composer Leonard Bernstein, the Performing Arts Department and the Rockford Symphony Orchestra will partner to present the musical Candide. The satirical novella was written by Voltaire, a philosopher of the Age of Enlightenment, and tells a comic tale of a young man’s journey from idealism to wisdom.

Bringing Civic Engagement into the Science Classroom: Karen Kashmanian Oates
Tuesday, April 24, 12 p.m.
Fisher Memorial Chapel
Nationally recognized consultant, scientist, science educator, and higher education leader Dr. Karen Kashmanian Oates discusses how the power of science for our democracy has required us to shift from an inert learning environment to one that actively engages 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.

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