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MLK Holiday Closure

Monday, January 21, 2019 Rockford University offices are closed in observance of the Martin Luther King, Jr. holiday.

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Rockford Park District and Rockford University announced plans for an expanded partnership today, January 17, 2019, at a joint press conference that will provide even more opportunities for area collegiate athletes. Rockford University Athletics, an NCAA Division III institution, will call Mercyhealth Sportscore Two campus, 8800 E. Riverside Blvd., Loves Park, home for all its field sports, practices, and local competitions. Collegiate athletes were already utilizing Mercyhealth Sportscore Two to play soccer, but now all men’s and women’s soccer games will also be played at the facility.  Softball, baseball, and indoor football will also be played at the venue. “Rockford University is excited to be able to build an even stronger relationship with the Park District. The Mercyhealth Sportscore Two campus is exceptional and provides our student-athletes access to world-class practice and competition space. I look forward to cheering on our teams here and to welcoming families and fans from near and far to experience all that these facilities have to offer,” said Eric Fulcomer, Ph.D., Rockford University President.

Throughout 2018 community engagement sessions, the Rockford Park District heard from taxpayers about how important it is to align with organizations that share the vision, mission, and values of the Park District, and to make sure partnerships are mutually beneficial. “We are very excited to expand our relationship with such an outstanding organization, and support the success of area collegiate athletes.  This is an example of how District assets and resources can be leveraged to enhance and strengthen achievement of District priorities. Equal efforts and outcomes will have a positive impact on our community,” said Rockford Park District Executive Director Jay Sandine.

Photos from the announcement made at the Mercyhealth Sportscore Two facility are posted on the University’s Facebook page.


About Rockford University
Rockford University is a four-year, co-educational institution founded in 1847 offering undergraduate and graduate degrees in traditional liberal arts and professional fields. The University offers approximately 80 majors, minors, and concentrations, including the adult accelerated degree completion program for a B.S. in Management Studies. Through its Graduate Studies department, degrees are extended to include the Master of Business Administration (MBA) and Master of Arts in Teaching (MAT). Rockford University is home to one of only 11 Phi Beta Kappa (PBK) chapters in Illinois, the most prestigious honor society in the United States. Named by The Princeton Review as a Best Midwestern College and as a US News & World Report Best Midwest Regional University. Rockford University currently serves approximately 1,200 full-and part-time students.

About Rockford Park District

The Rockford Park District was proudly citizen-created in 1909, and is the third largest park and recreation system in Illinois, with more than 180 parks and facilities.  The Rockford Park District improves the quality of life for citizens by providing a vibrant and relevant park system that increases property values, stimulates economic development, decreases juvenile crime, and improves our community’s health. A vibrant and relevant park system also protects the environment, employs hundreds of area teens, and brings our diverse community together in unity through the common love of play.

Lisa Custardo VP for Finance and CFORockford University President Eric W. Fulcomer, Ph.D., announces the appointment of Lisa Custardo, CPA, CGMA, MBA, CC-SEI, as Vice President for Finance and Chief Financial Officer. Ms. Custardo brings more than 20-years of finance and management experience within the health and education services and non-profit industries.

A native of Illinois, Ms. Custardo currently serves as Chief Financial Officer of Alliance for a Healthier Generation headquartered in New York, NY. She has also served as Vice President, Finance and Operations at Greenheart International in Chicago, Ill., as well as in increasing leadership roles including Chief Financial Officer and Executive Director for Marklund, a non-profit organization headquarter in Geneva, Ill., that serves infants, children, teens and adults with severe and profound developmental disabilities and special healthcare needs.

Ms. Custardo earned her bachelor’s degree in accounting and economics from Elmhurst College, Elmhurst, Ill., and a master’s in business administration from Northern Illinois University, DeKalb, Ill. Additionally, she is credentialed as a Chartered Global Management Accountant (CGMA) and holds certificates as a Certified Public Accountant (CPA), Certified Coach (CC-SEI), Trainer & Facilitator – Social + Emotional Intelligence focused for business leaders, and as a Certified Mentor Coach (CC).

President Fulcomer notes, “I’m excited to welcome Lisa to our campus and to the community. Lisa is a seasoned and proven leader who is well-versed in managing the complex financial needs specific to non-profit organizations. Her expertise will serve Rockford University well in our efforts to grow all aspects the University while maintaining strong fiscal disciplines and practices.”

Ms. Custardo adds, “These are such extraordinary times in higher education. We are presented with a very challenging landscape which consistently calls for more innovative business approaches, unique leveraging of resources and creative student engagement, while continuing to hold strong demand for traditional offerings and programs. I’m deeply inspired by that call to action. When I couple that with the chance to join Rockford University – an institution rich in history and steeped in academic excellence, honor and value – I see that I have been given a very special opportunity. Even further, after meeting Dr. Fulcomer and the talented group of professionals that I will have the distinct pleasure of collaborating with, I know I’ve also found my new home. This is a profound moment in my career, and I look forward to the future with excitement about our work together and the impact we’ll make on the field of higher education.”

Ms. Custardo was part of a nation-wide search to replace Senior Vice President and Chief Financial Officer Tina Anderson who transitioned to full-time teaching at the University for the spring 2019 semester. Anderson is now Assistant Professor of Accounting in the Puri School of Business. Campus visits for finalists were conducted in December 2018. Custardo will officially begin her duties with Rockford University on February 4, 2019.

The Rockford Urban Education Research Symposium will highlight the culminating work of the first cohort of teachers who are students in the Master’s in Education, Urban Education Pathways program at Rockford University, a partnership with Rockford Public School District 205. The public is welcome to attend the symposium on Thursday, December 6, 2018 from 6:00 P.M. – 8:15 P.M. at Rockford University’s Burpee Center in Regents Hall, 5050 East State Street, Rockford.

Research projects and poster presentations will be on display. RPS 205 Superintendent Ehren Jarrett, Ed.D., will provide a key note address. Dr. Jarrett and Rockford University President Eric Fulcomer will also recognize teacher leaders and special recognition will be awarded for Outstanding Action Research, Honorable Mention Action Research and People’s Choice Action Research.

For more information about the symposium, contact


Rock Solid_3 Scarborough 2017Rockford University will host a Future Regent Visit Day on Monday, November 12, 2018, beginning at 10 a.m. Future Regent Visit Day’s provide interested students and their families an in-depth look at the University, including visits with admission representatives, financial aid staff, faculty, and current students. Guests are invited to explore campus, meet with faculty, and interact with current students.The November 12 visit day also features a free lunch. The Visit day will conclude at approximately 2 p.m.

Check-in begins at 10 AM on Rockford University’s campus, located at 5050 East State Street, Rockford. To learn more about Future Regent Visit Day and to register, call 815-226-4050 or visit to reserve a spot today.

Eric W. Fulcomer, Ph.D., president of Rockford University, was named one of the 2018 People You Should Know by the Rockford Chamber of Commerce; one of 20 people recognized during a special reception held Thursday, Nov. 1, at the Tebala Event Center. The Chamber’s People You Should Know recognitions started in 2011 and has since honored 121 community leaders.

This latest group features eight women and 12 men representing a variety of industries, including health care, government, nonprofits, finance, education, manufacturing and professional services. Honorees are business leaders who impact their respective organizations and industries and who positively affect the local business environment. More about the entire 2018 class is featured in the Rockford Register Star’s November 1, 2018 story, “Rockford Chamber of Commerce names 20 People You Should Know.”

Eric FulcomerDr. Fulcomer came to Rockford in 2013, first serving as Vice President for Enrollment Management for three years before being named as Rockford University’s 18th president in 2016. Under Dr. Fulcomer’s leadership the university has conducted more than $2 million in capital improvements to the science building and the residence halls, continuing to build on the $25 million in investments made to the campus since 2008. He has more than two decades of leadership experience in higher education.  Prior to his time at Rockford, Dr. Fulcomer served for 19 years at Bluffton University (Ohio), most recently as Vice President for Enrollment Management and Student Life.

In addition to his work in higher education, Dr. Fulcomer has been active in his communities. He is a board member for Rockford Christian Schools, the Golden Apple Foundation, SwedishAmerican Health Systems, Alignment Rockford Governing Board, Rockford International Education Center, Rockford Leaders, and Kobe College Corporation-Japan Education Exchange. He serves as a member of the Executive Committee for Rockford Christian Schools, Associated Colleges of Illinois and the Federation of Illinois Independent Colleges and Universities. He participated in the Chamber’s Leadership Rockford Program, and served as co-chair of the Funding and Alignment Spoke of Transform Rockford. Dr. Fulcomer is also a member of the Rockford Rotary Club.

Dr. Fulcomer shares, “It’s my privilege to be included as one of 2018’s People You Should Know. I have enjoyed getting to know and work alongside many of the recipients from this year’s class, as well as many previous PYSK honorees. The diversity of organizations and efforts represented by these individuals is truly impressive. Recognitions like these help provide proof that whatever challenges our community may face, the Rockford region is strong and filled with limitless potential for growth and prosperity.”

Dr. Ismail Mirici, Dean of the Ataturk Faculty of Education from Near East University in the Turkish Republic of North Cyprus, visited Rockford University in mid-October to meet with President Eric Fulcomer regarding a new partnership between the two universities. An initial memorandum of understanding was signed that allows for the continuing development of a program that will begin with Rockford University offering select classes to students at Near East University and eventually grow to provide a full joint degree program. 

Rockford University has experienced significant growth in its international programming over the course of the last decade, currently hosting more than 100 students from 17 countries. Fostering a robust international presence on campus further supports the University’s mission to prepare students for success in a modern and changing global society. Dr. Fulcomer adds, “We are excited about this new collaboration with Near East University and the opportunities it will bring to Rockford University, our students and the community. How fortunate we are to have a microcosm of the world here on our campus. Our international students enrich our experiences by sharing their unique cultures and languages and providing us a greater appreciation of both our differences and our similarities.”

The program will make it possible for students at Near East University to begin their education in North Cyprus and complete their degree at Rockford University. Rockford has more than 20 similar types of agreements with universities throughout China as well as study abroad opportunities for students in Sweden, Spain, Japan, England, France, Italy and Chile.

Dr. Ismail Mirici and President Eric Fulcomer

Dr. Ismail Mirici and President Eric Fulcomer meet at Rockford University on October 15, 2018 to sign a memorandum of understanding between Rockford University and Near East University.

US News & World Report released its 2019 rankings and has again named Rockford University as a Best in the Midwest Regional University. According to US News & World Report, Regional Universities offer a full range of undergraduate programs and some master’s programs but few doctoral programs. These rankings are split into four regions: NorthSouthMidwest and West. The Midwest region consists of 12 states.

The 2019 U.S News ranking includes data on nearly 1,800 colleges and universities. Eligible schools are ranked on academic excellence, including assessment of excellence, graduation and retention rates, faculty resources, student selectivity, financial resources and alumni giving. Unlike most other publication rankings, U.S. News doesn’t require institutions to complete a survey, invest in advertising or pay fees to be part of the listing.

Rockford University is a private four-year, co-educational institution founded in 1847 offering undergraduate and graduate degrees in traditional liberal arts and professional fields. The University offers more than 80 majors, minors and concentrations, including the adult accelerated degree completion program for a B.S. in Management Studies. Through its Graduate Studies department, degrees are extended to include the Master of Business Administration (MBA), Master of Arts in Teaching (MAT), and Master of Education in Urban Education, (M.Ed.). Rockford University is home to one of only 11 Phi Beta Kappa (PBK) chapters in Illinois, the most prestigious honor society in the United States. Named by The Princeton Review as a Best Midwestern College and is a U.S. News & World Report Best Midwest Regional University, Rockford University currently serves approximately 1,250 full-and part-time students.

Visit for more information about Rockford University.

Students walking

Rockford University’s next Future Regent Visit Day is on Saturday, October 6, beginning at 10 a.m. Future Regent Visit Days provide interested students and their families an in-depth look at the University, including visits with admission representatives, financial aid staff, faculty, and current students. Guests are invited to explore campus, meet with faculty, and interact with current students and returning alumni who will be on campus for Homecoming activities.

The October 6 Visit day also features a free tailgate lunch and admission to the Homecoming Regent’s Football game against Benedictine University. Check-in begins at 10 a.m. on Rockford University’s campus, located at 5050 East State Street, Rockford. To learn more about Future Regent Visit Day and to register, call 815-226-4050 or visit to make a reservation spot today.

Rockford University President Eric W. Fulcomer, Ph.D., has announced the appointment of Michael Perry, Ph.D., as Interim Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs and that of Gregory Cascione, Ph.D., as Interim Vice President for Advancement. Former Provost and Vice President Dr. Michael Mihalyo left the University in July to accept the presidency at Wheeling Jesuit University in Wheeling, West Virginia. Dr. Cascione replaces Bernard Sundstedt, who retired as Vice President for Institutional Advancement at the end of June 2018.

President Fulcomer notes, “While we miss Michael’s and Bern’s leadership, we know that with change comes opportunity to learn from individuals who bring new perspective and energy to our work. We begin this academic year, our 172nd, with a keen focus on efforts that enhance our students’ academic and co-curricular experiences. I look forward to the passion and expertise Dr. Perry and Dr. Cascione bring to their respective leadership roles and I’m excited to work alongside of them this year.”

About Michael Perry, Ph.D.


Dr. Perry began his tenure at Rockford University in 2008 upon completing his Ph.D. at Arizona State University. Prior to his appointment as Interim Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs, Dr. Perry served as Dean, College of Arts & Humanities; and as the NCAA Faculty Athletic Representative. His interests in teaching and research include African American literature, popular culture, and creative writing. He spearheaded an annual “Read Aloud of Black American Voices” in honor of Black History Month. Furthermore, Michael regularly presents at the Popular Culture and American Culture Association National Conference, where in addition to presenting in areas as wide-ranging as black culture, horror, and rhetoric, he also chaired a panel of three Rockford University undergraduate students who presented work that stemmed from his class in graphic novels and the literary tradition.

Prior to obtaining his doctorate of philosophy in English from Arizona State, Michael taught for two years in the Minnesota community college system in a variety of settings, including the prison system. Michael obtained his master of arts in English from the University of St. Thomas in St. Paul, Minn., and his bachelor of arts in English with minors in math and classics from Augustana College in Sioux Falls, S.D. Dr. Perry lives in Rockford with his wife, Karen, who is a registered nurse, and three children: Caleb, Julian and Zoey.

About Gregory Cascione, Ph.D.
Dr. Cascione has more than 30 years of professional and academic experience in advancing philanthropy and fund development for higher education and non-profit organizations. His extensive background includes experience in leading all aspects of advancement, development, alumni relations, development research, marketing and public relations.

Dr. Cascione earned his B.A. in Philosophy from Fordham University; a M.T.S. in Ethics from Harvard University; his M.B.A. from the University of Edinburgh; and his doctorate from the University of Michigan. Dr. Cascione has devoted his career to the discipline of Advancement and has a proven record in successful philanthropic work for several institutions that include University of Michigan, Minnesota State University, The Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania, Harvard Law School, University of Detroit Mercy, and Marygrove College.

Rockford University will conduct nation-wide searches to fill both the Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs and Vice President for Advancement positions. Searches will begin in late fall.

Rockford University welcomes Timothy Alexander on Thursday, August 30, 7 p.m., Maddox Theatre, as part of the University’s Fall Forum Series and Rock Solid Success Seminar. The Rock Solid Success Seminars are designed to provide motivation and encouragement to all students as they pursue their path to graduation. Other seminar guests have included Mike Singletary, the family of Walter Payton (wife Connie and Son Jarrett), and Dr. Clarence Lee. Maddox Theatre is located in the Clark Arts Center on the University’s campus, 5050 East State Street, Rockford. Clark Arts is accessible.

Timothy Alexander is a faith-driven young man who has dedicated his life to motivating and inspiring others. A native of Birmingham Alabama, Timothy attended Erwin High School and was ranked the #8 high school football player in the state. Timothy had the opportunity to play for any college in the country; however, he was involved in a life changing car accident in 2006, leaving him paralyzed from the neck down. From that point on, Timothy was left to find his purpose in life while paralyzed. Timothy will share his story of persistence to succeed after the accident that forever changed his life’s path. He has also authored a book, “Ever Faithful, Ever Loyal” which details his emotional and inspirational story. Learn more Timothy at

This event is free and the public is welcome to attend. Tickets are required and seating is limited. To reserve tickets, contact the Box Office at The complete Fall 2018 Forum Series is available on the University’s website at