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Tracy (Hanqing) Wang ’19 at 165th Commencement Ceremony

Rockford University congratulates our recent graduates. Approximately 350 students from 16 states and 17 countries received undergraduate and graduate degrees.

To view the complete list of the recent graduates along with other student achievements, visit the Rockford University Merit page. Achievements have also been distributed to students’ hometown newspapers for regional publication.

Rockford University congratulates the spring 2019 semester Dean’s and Distinguished scholars. More than 300 undergraduate students earned top honors for the semester. Students earning at least a 3.5 GPA with no grades below “C” and having completed all requirements for the semester are named to the Dean’s list. While students earning at least a 3.75 GPA with no grades below “C” and having completed all requirements for the semester are named to the Distinguished Scholars list.

To view the complete list of the 2019 Dean’s and Distinguished Scholars along with other student achievements, visit the Rockford University Merit page. Achievements have also been distributed to students’ hometown newspapers for regional publication.

*Students in the degree completion program for a Bachelor of Management Studies are not included in this list and will be published at a later date.

Rockford University’s Puri School of Business will host a free Master’s in Business Administration (MBA) information session on Tuesday, June 25, 2019, beginning at 5:30 p.m. Anyone interested in learning more about earning an MBA is encouraged to attend. Attendees will be provided an in-depth look at how the University’s MBA program helps advance career and leadership opportunities, including details on available program concentrations and admission requirements. Hear from a panel of current and former students who will provide insight on their experiences with the program. Guests also will be able to speak one-on-one with program advisors and faculty.  The information session will conclude at approximately 7 p.m.

There is no cost to attend, but registration is requested. To learn more about the MBA information session and to register, call 815-226-4040 or visit reserve a spot today. The session will be held in the Puri School of Business, located directly east of the Rockford University’s main entrance located at 5050 East State Street, Rockford.

At a luncheon for supporters and special guests, President Eric W. Fulcomer announced that the University has exceeded its original goal of $17,300,000 with $18,237,000 raised to date. The Rock Solid & Ready Capital Campaign will officially conclude at the end of the University’s fiscal year on June 30, 2019. Any additional funds raised will contribute to the Rock Solid & Ready final total.

Fulcomer_Eric 4x5_2016President Fulcomer states, “As Rockford University’s 18th president, it has been my privilege to continue working toward the successful completion of the elements set forth in the Rock Solid & Ready Campaign. I was fortunate in my previous role as Vice President of Enrollment Management to have served alongside President Emeritus Robert L. Head, as the vision for this important work began to take shape, ultimately refining itself into a campaign that has allowed for a strengthening of the Rockford University experience for students, faculty, alumni and friends.”

Campaign Chair Jim Keeling adds, “The generosity of the Rockford University community has been incredible. Led by our dedicated Trustees, more than 2,500 donors have invested in this extraordinary institution during our campaign. Relative to the established campaign priorities, the $18,000,000+ has made a tremendous impact, helping to Shape Modern Facilities ($3.7 million); Enhance the Student Experience ($5.9 million) and Provide for Current Needs ($8.6 million).”

As a result of the Rock Solid & Ready Campaign, the University has been able to make substantial improvements in its academic areas, student experience and learning spaces. Campaign highlights include modernizations completed to the Starr Science Building; the purchase of new scientific equipment; naming of the Puri School of Business, including the installation of the Bloomberg Business Lab trading floor; and the creation of the Student Opportunity Fund which allows for supportive funding for students to further engage in research experiences with faculty and in unique learning opportunities. Finally, the strengthening of the University’s annual fund has allowed for extensive capital improvements to take place across all areas of campus.

This fall, the University will be constructing a $3,000,000 expansion to the Seaver Physical Education Center. This new addition will house an enhanced weight and fitness space and will add more classroom space for the rapidly growing physical education and exercise science programs. Designed by local architecture firm Larson & Darby Group, this vital expansion will be an important venue for student learning and enrollment growth.  

President Fulcomer concludes, “We have much to celebrate as we close out this campaign. I am grateful to all who have helped us achieve our goal. Our wonderful students, faculty, staff, alumni and friends, and visionary trustees, have solidified an exceptional and robust educational experience that prepares Rockford University students for productive lives and careers.”

The Truth about Refugees: I was a Stranger…Now I’m a Neighbor discussion will be presented on Monday, May 20 at 6:30 pm in Rockford University’s Fisher Memorial Chapel located at 5050 E. State St. Rockford. The Institute of World Affairs and Trade at Rockford University is pleased to host this panel presentation on the policies, experiences, and contributions of refugees coming to the Rockford area.

The discussion will include the process by which refugees get to Illinois, current programs to help them acclimate and settle in the community, the experience in refugee camps, and psychological issues faced on the path to resettlement. Rockford is home to refugees from many parts of the world (Europe, Africa, the Middle East, and Asia primarily) who are making great contributions to our community. The panelist will explain and highlight their paths to becoming our neighbors.

Panelist include: Ngoan Le, Illinois Refugee State Coordinator and Chief of the Bureau of Refugee and Immigrant Services at the Illinois Department of Human Services; Janet Biljeskovic, Program Director for Rockford Catholic Charities Refugee Resettlement Services; Lionel Nzamba, Refugee from Republic of Congo, Africa, currently working for Lifescape; Damir S. Utržan ’11, Ph.D., LMFT, Treatment Director and Group Supervisor at Minnesota Department of Human Services, Greater Minneapolis-St. Paul Area; and Tricia D. Wagner, Director of ESL (English as a Second Language) Programs at Rock Valley College.

This program is offered by The Institute of World Affairs and Trade at Rockford University. The event is free and open to the Rockford University campus and Rockford community. Fisher Chapel is accessible.

Performing arts students gathered around a riserRockford University’s spring 2019 Forum Series concludes with the production of the musical comedy All Shook Up. The musical runs Thurs. – Sat., April 25- 27 at 7:30 PM and Sun., April 28 at 2 PM in Rockford University’s Maddox Theatre, Clark Art Center. This Broadway preformed musical is directed by alumnus Kyle Donahue (2003) and built around a number of songs made famous by Elvis Presley, such as classics like “Heartbreak Hotel,” “Love Me Tender,” “Don’t Be Cruel,” and “Can’t Help Falling in Love”.

The music of Elvis comes alive in this musical set in 1955, somewhere in Middle America, where one girl’s dream and a surprise visit from a guitar-playing young man changes everything and everyone he meets, as he helps a small town to discover the magic of romance and the power of rock & roll. This lip-curling musical fantasy will have you jumpin’ out of your blue suede shoes. Kyle Donahue has directed, choreographed and performed around the world on regional theatre, theme park and cruise ship stages and is an alumni of the BFA Musical Theatre Performance program at Rockford University. In Rockford, Kyle performed at New American Theatre, with Rockford Dance Company and the Without Shoes Modern Dance Company.

Maddox Theatre is located in the Clark Arts Center, 5050 East State Street, Rockford. Clark Arts is accessible. Tickets are required and single ticket admission is $12 for adults and seniors age 55 and up, and $9 for students. Contact the Box Office for tickets at or 815-226-4100 to purchase tickets.  

The Denim Day sexual violence prevention campaign event will take place at Rockford University on Wednesday, April 24 at 7 PM in the Regents Hall, Student Burpee Center. Rockford University is partnering with the Mayor’s Office on Domestic Violence and Human Trafficking Prevention, Rockford Public Schools, Rockford Sexual Assault Counseling, and United Way to help bring this campaign to the Rockford community.

In honor of Sexual Assault Awareness month Peace Over Violence has run its Denim Day campaign on a Wednesday in April for over 20 years. The campaign began after a ruling by the Italian Supreme Court where a rape conviction was overturned because the justices felt that since the victim was wearing tight jeans she must have helped the person who raped her remove her jeans, thereby implying consent. Following the overturn, the women in the Italian Parliament came to work wearing jeans to support the victim. The Denim Day campaign was developed by Peace Over Violence in response to this case and the activism surrounding it. Since then, wearing jeans on Denim Day has become a symbol of protest against inaccurate and destructive misconceptions about sexual harassment, abuse, assault, and rape.

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.

Forum Series takes place on the Rockford University campus, 5050 East State Street, Rockford. With the exception of Performing Arts’ events Forum Series event tickets are free, but required and can be obtained by contacting the Box Office at 815-226-4100 or

This semester’s Forum Series continues through late April. View the full lineup at

Rockford University, in partnership with MercyHealth, invites you to attend a nursing careers open house at the new state-of-the-art Javon Bea Hospital – Riverside on Tues., April 30. Anyone interested in learning more about how a Bachelor of Science in Nursing from Rockford University can lead to a rewarding career in the MercyHealth system is encouraged to attend. A special behind-the-scenes tour of the hospital will also be given for those in attendance.

Rockford University’s nursing program provides students the opportunity to experience clinical and hospital settings to best prepare them for their future careers, while also offering a wide view of opportunities available for a nursing professional. Rockford University’s Nursing Department prepares registered professional nurses to provide quality nursing care to individuals, families, groups and communities with diverse health needs. Nursing students are challenged to think critically, act compassionately, and engage with their wider community.

Visit Rockford University’s website to learn more about the Bachelor of Science in Nursing Degree Program.

Doors open at 4:30 PM with the program beginning at 5 PM. Javon Bea Hospital – Riverside is located at 8201 E. Riverside Blvd, Rockford, IL 61114. Space is limited, so reserve your spot today. Register online at For questions or more information, contact Admission Counselor Faith Haley at

image of Bern Sundstedt at podium Bern Sundstedt, senior project specialist at Rockford University and former resident actor at New American Theater (NAT) in Rockford from 1977-1978 and 1990-1994, will perform the The Evils of Tobacco, a monologue serio-comedy written by Anton Chekhov as translated by Michael Frayn.

The performance and short discussion following is part of the University’s Brown Bag Series, a semester-long slate of presentations offered by University faculty and staff that feature topics of special interest to the presenters in order to spark the imagination of others and drive conversation and curiosity. This performance and talk-back will be presented on Monday, April 29 from 4 p.m. to 5 p.m. in Maddox Theatre, Clark Arts Center, Rockford University, 5050 East State St., Rockford, Ill. 61108 and is open to the public. Admission is free. The Clark Arts Center is accessible.

Sundstedt graduated from Rockford University in 1977. He completed his training at Yale School of Drama, receiving his MFA in 1981. He went on to appear on Broadway, Off-Off Broadway and in Regional Theatre. Returning to the Rockford region in 1990, he took up residence at New American Theatre, while serving as an adjunct instructor of theatre at Rock Valley College and as the technical director for Starlight Theatre.

Sundstedt first performed The Evils of Tobacco in 1991. While he has performed the play three other times by invitation and has attained a reputation as a Musical Lampoonist, this will be his first public performance of any substance since 1994 when he portrayed Michael Evans in NAT’s, Dancing at Lughnasa.

The Evils of Tobacco, written in 1886 as a high farce for Russian Vaudeville and Street Theatre, was one of Chekhov’s first pieces written specifically for performance. Over the subsequent 17 years, during which Chekhov wrote his major masterpieces, he re-wrote Evils of Tobacco five times. Each time the play’s tenor and content changed, reflecting the playwright’s evolving maturity, during which he became one of the world’s premier writers of realistic dramas.

The Evils of Tobacco, is presented by special arrangement with SAMUEL FRENCH, INC. Mr. Sundstedt appears through the courtesy of Actors’ Equity Association, the Union of Professional Actors and Stage Managers.

Professor of Philosophy Matt Flamm, Ph.D. will present the ‘Last Lecture’ on his talk titled “It’s All Connected” on Tuesday, April 16, 4 p.m. in Fisher Memorial Chapel, 5050 E. State St., Rockford. The Last Lecture is part of the Spring Forum series at the University and provides an opportunity for students to nominate a member of the faculty to deliver his or her ‘last lecture’ as the University nears the end of its academic year.

The Last Lecture series at Rockford University was inspired by Randy Pausch. Dr. Pausch was a professor at Carnegie Mellon University from 1997 to his death in 2008. Before his death he was asked to give the students his Last Lecture. Dr. Pausch delivered a laugh-filled session of teaching stories, about going after your childhood dreams, and helping others achieve theirs. The Last Lecture Series has been made possible through the generosity of the Father Robert J. Verstynen Trust; honoring Rockford University faculty members for their years of teaching and example of lifelong learning.

Professor Flamm was chosen based on nominations from students. To show how “It’s All Connected” Dr. Flamm will discuss love, work, teaching, and sing a few songs. He earned his AS from Portland Community College, his BA from State University of New York at Stony Brook, his MA from Texas A&M University, and his doctorate from Southern Illinois University Carbondale. He has enjoyed teaching at Rockford University since 2004. In addition to academics Matthew writes, records, and performs music which, as his presentation will showcase, goes hand in hand with his love of philosophy.

The Last Lecture is free and open to the public, however, tickets are required. Please contact the Rockford University Box Office at 815-226-4100 or to reserve your tickets or for more information. Fisher Chapel is accessible.

The complete list of the Spring 2019 Forum Series events is available on the University’s website at