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MLK Holiday Closure

Monday, January 20, 2020 Rockford University offices are closed in observance of the Martin Luther King, Jr. holiday.

Read the Full Notification

Rockford University’s spring 2020 Forum Series kicks off its first of nearly a dozen events with a production by Rockford University’s own Orchesis Dance Company. The dance concert will run Thursday- Saturday, January 23-25 at 7:30 p.m. and will take place in the University’s Maddox Theatre, Clark Arts Center.

Orchesis is produced in collaboration with various local artists and under the direction of our new Assistant Professor of Dance, Lindsay Hawkins. This event is held annually in honor of Jayne Poor. Rockford University 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.

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 Rockford University Forum Series presents speakers and performances that are concerned with intellectual, social, and cultural matters of general interest to deepen and broaden students’ education at Rockford University. All Forums are open to the public and, with the exception of Performing Arts events, are free of charge. Lectures and performances will take place on the Rockford University campus, 5050 East State Street, Rockford. Tickets are required and can be obtained at the Clark Arts Center Box Office during regular hours of operation— Monday through Friday, 1- 5 p.m., as well as one hour before event at location of event. Contact the Box Office at 815-226-4100 or The Clark Arts Center is accessible.


Spring 2020 Lineup 


Orchesis & Rockford City Dance Concert

Thursday, January 23- Saturday, January 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

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. Presented in collaboration with Mendelssohn Performing Arts Center.


You. Me. We.

Tuesday, February 4, 7 p.m.

Regents Hall, Student Burpee 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, February 27- Saturday, February 29, 7:30 p.m., and Sunday, March 1, 2 p.m.

Maddox Theatre, Clark Arts Center

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

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


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 23, 4 p.m.

Fisher Memorial Chapel

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



Thursday, April 23- Saturday, April 25, 7:30 p.m., and Sunday, April 26, 2 p.m.

Maddox Theatre, Clark Arts Center

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.

As I write this, we are beginning the second half of the fall semester. It has been a good semester in many ways. We welcomed 300 new students to our traditional program and dozens more in our adult and graduate programs. Overall, our enrollment stands at 1225 students this fall, up from 1211 last fall. Our students come from 32 states and 20 countries – we are truly a global campus community.

In May, our Board of Trustees approved a new strategic plan that will map our course for the next five years, extending beyond our 175th anniversary. The plan is structured around four thematic elements and has its roots in Liberal Arts learning. Through robust external relations that leverage the support of an engaged community of partners, we will build a thriving campus that puts students first by providing a distinct student experience in and out of the classroom. Utilizing cutting-edge instruction, and with a commitment to instructional support, the university will conduct an unceasing and ongoing assessment of all practices that will create a vibrant sense of place for all.

Already this fall, we have begun to implement the strategic plan, particularly in the areas of student engagement and the development of partnerships with regional community colleges and businesses. We also have broken ground on the 3,800 square foot addition to the Seaver Physical Education Center, which you’ll note is featured on this issue’s cover. This $3.5 million project, funded by alumni and friends through the Rock Solid and Ready Campaign, will include an enhanced weight and fitness space and will add more classroom space for the rapidly growing physical education and exercise science programs. More details about the conclusion of our capital campaign and Seaver addition can be found on pg. 5.   

All in all, we have had a great start to the academic year. If you haven’t been back to campus recently, I encourage you to make a trip to see all of the exciting things happening at Rockford University.



Eric W. Fulcomer, Ph.D.

University Campaign celebration
Interim Vice President for Advancement Dr. Greg Cascione, Board of Trustees Chair Beth Donovan, Board of Trustees member and Campaign Chair Jim Keeling, Emeritus President Dr. Robert Head, and President Dr. Eric Fulcomer announce campaign results during the May 17 celebration event.

While officially now ended, the long-term positive outcomes of the Rock Solid & Ready Capital Campaign are far from over. The campaign successfully closed on June 30, 2019, with $18.4 million raised against an original $17.3 million goal.

As a result of the Rock Solid & Ready Campaign, the University has been able to make substantial improvements in academic areas, the overall student experience, and learning spaces.  Highlights of the campaign include $1 million invested in modernizations to the Starr Science Building including the purchase of new scientific equipment; naming of the Puri School of Business and 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 investments to take place throughout campus. More than $15 million has been invested over the past six years, resulting in noticeable improvements to our infrastructure and physical plant. 

President Fulcomer shares, “As Rockford University’s 18th president, it has been my privilege to continue working toward the successful completion of the elements outlined in the Rock Solid & Ready Campaign. As the vision for this important work began to take shape, I was fortunate in my previous role as Vice President of Enrollment Management to have served alongside President Emeritus Robert L. Head. Ultimately, thanks to the buy-in and support of more than 2,500 donors, we were successful in a campaign that allowed for a strengthening of the Rockford University experience for students, faculty, alumni, and friends. I am grateful to everyone for their remarkable support which has had a direct impact on the University’s ability to provide transformational experiences for our students.”

Campaign Chair and Board of Trustee member Jim Keeling adds, “The generosity of the Rockford University community has been incredible. We can directly see how the monies raised have had an immediate and positive impact. I am so proud of this institution. A flourishing Rockford University translates directly to a stronger Rockford community; something of which we can and should all be proud.”

Happening concurrently with efforts to raise funds to support specific campaign elements, several additional donors came forward to support students through the creation of endowed scholarships and bequest intentions. Additional gifts made to endowed scholarships during the life of the campaign amounted to more than $8.7 million, including planned gifts and bequest intentions valued at approximately $875,000. In all, during the period of the campaign, gifts and pledges to the University totaled more than $27.8 million.

Breaking Ground

Architectural renderings of the new exterior; inside fitness and excercise room, and renovated classroom spaces.

The campus will undergo a significant physical change with a more than 3,800 square foot addition to the Seaver Physical Education Center. The $3 million project is expected to break ground before the end of the 2019. The new space will include an enhanced weight and fitness space and will add more classroom space for the rapidly growing physical education and exercise science programs. Also included in the renovation and addition is redesigned heating and cooling system that will provide for the entire building to be fully air-conditioned along with a more energy-efficient heating system. Designed by local architecture firm Larson & Darby Group, this vital expansion will be an essential venue for student learning and further support enrollment growth.

President Fulcomer concludes, “We have much to celebrate and much for which to look forward. It will be exciting to watch the Seaver transformation, knowing that when complete, the space will better serve all of our students. I am grateful to all who have helped us realize our goals.



To express what the success of the campaign truly means to our students and faculty, a video was produced and debuted at the May 17, 2019 campaign celebration luncheon. Students and faculty say it best and shared their stories of how donors’ support has made a deeper and long-last impact. We invite you to watch the following Thank You video and encourage you to explore Rockford University’s YouTube channel.

Promising Futures

12/17/2019 11:54 am

In May of 2020, the first two Rockford Promise Scholars to attend Rockford University will graduate. Jennifer Rosales (left) and Alondra Torres (right), both alumnae of Jefferson High School, are grateful and humbled by the unique experience they share as Rockford Promise Scholars.

Rockford University and Rock Valley College joined in a formal collaboration in 2015 with Rockford Promise, committing to provide tuition remission to selected area students. In 2016, Alondra and Jennifer received the first two full-time four year scholarships, along with three other students who received scholarships to attend Rock Valley College.

Rockford Promise is a non-profit, location-based scholarship program that seeks to improve the local economy by offering full-tuition scholarships to deserving graduates of Rockford Public Schools in District 205. Modeled after other Promise programs around the nation, the organization seeks to increase educational attainment in the Rockford community while providing economic incentives for residents and businesses to locate in the Rockford region. In addition to full-tuition college scholarships, Rockford Promise also supports scholars with various community mentorship opportunities, academic advising, and meaningful social connections to ensure they not only earn their degrees but also gain a strong foundation toward a successful career.

When asked what it meant to her to have this opportunity, Jennifer stated, “Even though I knew I wanted to go to college, graduating high school was one of the highest goals I had for myself and look at where I am today, I am about to graduate from college in less than a year. I would not have been able to achieve this without the help of everyone that has been there for me, including the members of the Rockford Promise committee, Rockford University staff and faculty, and my family.” Jennifer, a human development major, quickly learned the value of finding ways to engage outside of the classroom. She participated in the Alan Hutchcroft Alternative Spring Break, showcases her athletic talents on the Women’s Soccer Team, and served as a Welcome Week leader for incoming students. This all while maintaining excellent grades and being named to the Dean’s and Distinguished Scholars lists. Planning for her future after graduation, she is committed never to stop learning and hopes to stand out in her profession by attending a graduate school counseling program.

For Alondra, also an honor student with an outstanding academic record, will graduate with a major in biochemistry and a minor in French, the significance of being able to attend college with the financial burdens lifted is evident. She shares, “I am grateful that Rockford Promise gave me the chance to attend Rockford University. Thanks to this scholarship, I have been able to make the most out of my college career by searching for endless opportunities to grow as a student and a member of this community.” Alondra has demonstrated this gratitude by not hesitating to become involved in clubs and organizations on campus, including several Global Affairs events, serving as a Student Government Association representative and Welcome Week leader. Alondra has participated twice in the Alan Hutchcroft Alternative Spring Break, played all four years for the soccer team, and is a member of the Student Government Association. An experience Alondra cites as one of the most meaningful was being able to visit Paris, France in January of 2018, as part of her French Language and Culture Abroad course and with the help of the University’s Student Opportunity Fund. Alondra looks forward to continuing her education and hopes to one day work toward her Masters of Science in Nursing (MSN) degree.

Rockford University’s commitment to Rockford Promise has continued to increase since 2016, with an investment of more than $220,000. Four new Rockford Promise scholars came to Rockford University this fall, joining their eight counterparts. With growing community support, the program is living up to its moniker, truly providing great promise for area students and outstanding soon-to-be alumni in Jennifer and Alondra.

Two graduatesCelebrating the Class of 2019

12/17/2019 11:52 am

Left: BFA in Theatre Graduate Joi Pierre, Houston, Texas Right: Alumni Association Board President, Damir Utrzan, Ph.D. provided a brief insight into life post-graduation and offered congratulations to the new graduates on behalf of the Alumni Association. Dr. Utrzan graduated in 2011 with a bachelor’s of science degree in Psychology and with minors in Human Development and Philosophy

The 165th Commencement ceremony was held on Sunday, May 19, at the Coronado Performing Arts Center located in downtown Rockford. 350 students from 22 states and 12 countries were awarded degrees in bachelor’s and master’s degree programs. This year’s graduate keynote address was presented by Bernard Sundstedt ’77. Bern officially retired on June 30, 2019, after more than 25 years of service. Through his more than four decades relationship with the University, Sundstedt has been an integral connector to individuals who represent 11 decades of University life, which became evident in his remarks.

Bern’s uniquely tailored address provided depth to the special bond Rockford University is fortunate to have with Eugene Braunwald, M.D. and alumni from the class of 1969, Drs. Marc and Janice Pfeffer. The University was honored to present Dr. Braunwald, a world-renowned cardiologist, a pioneer in the pathophysiology of heart failure, and special friend of the University with an Honorary Doctor of Science.

Dr. Braunwald is the distinguished Hersey Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School, and the founding Chair of the Thrombolysis in Myocardial Infarction Study Group (TIMI) at the Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, Massachusetts. He trained at New York University School of Medicine and at the age of 25, he had already gained recognition through his published works. Six years later, he was named Chief of Cardiology and Clinical Director of the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute. Dr. Braunwald soon became the founding Chair of Medicine at the University of California, San Diego. From 1972 to 1996 he was Chairman of the Department of Medicine at the Brigham and Women’s Hospital.

As chairman of TIMI, Dr. Braunwald joined with Drs. Marc and Janice Pfeffer to provide significant insight into the treatment of patients who suffer from acute myocardial infarction and unstable angina. Their groundbreaking work changed the trajectory of cardiac medicine. President Fulcomer provided the following remarks about Dr. Braunwald during the ceremony.

Top: Dr. Damir Utrzan and Dr. Braunwald visit prior to the Commencement ceremony. Bottom: Retiree, Deb Dew, Ph.D. is presented Professor Emerita of Education status by President Fulcomer

Over the past 20 years, you have generously and graciously supported Rockford University in thought, word, and deed.  In addition, your lifetime of professional accomplishments are without compare; they serve as a compelling example of all that is possible in our world – an example our graduates in this and any year would do well to emulate. Your remarkable contributions to science and medicine have forever improved the human condition for people of every race, nation, creed, and ethnicity.

As a recipient of 22 honorary doctorates, we are honored and humbled that you have agreed to accept ours with pride while allowing us to join an impressive role of the most prestigious institutions around the world, whose degrees live on in your heart and adorn the walls of your office.

You are the epitome of liberal learning and embody an exemplary model of the power that exists in allowing oneself to fearlessly challenge the established construct while shattering perceived boundaries for the greater good. 

Your first major paper was published in Circulation Research in July 1954, establishing you as a major force in cardiology ever since. With more than fourteen hundred published articles to your credit, you are the most frequently cited author in cardiology by the journal ‘Science Watch.’

You have served as an editor of Harrison’s Principles of Internal Medicine for 12 editions, and as the founding editor of Heart Disease, now in its 11th Edition – the two most influential textbooks in cardiac medicine. Your contributions to cardiovascular research through your 60-year commitment to Thrombolysis In Myocardial Infarction studies are simply unparalleled, and your findings have resulted in multiple life-saving therapeutic approaches.

Your paradigm-defining discovery that the size of a myocardial infarction could be reduced by favorably altering the balance between oxygen supply and demand set the stage for modern coronary care management.

Your accomplishments are so significant; it is impossible to express in words here today the depth to which you have impacted our world. But of all your endeavors, we at Rockford University are most thankful for the serendipitous circumstances that some 40 years ago brought you into the lives of Rockford University Alumni Dr. Janice Sikorski Pfeffer, and her husband, Dr. Marc Pfeffer. The SAVE and CARE trials that you conducted with them are regarded as two of the most influential cardio/medical trials in the last century and have saved countless patients.

It is a wonderful story of love, commitment, and compassion that will be given full treatment by our commencement speaker, Mr. Bern Sundstedt. Dr. Braunwald, you have done so much for Rockford University and the world of cardiac medicine; we thank you and would like at this time to appropriately recognize you. 

Rockford University announced a new partnership with Rock Valley College designed to provide a seamless path for adult students to complete a business management bachelor’s degree at Rockford University through its Puri School of Business. The Rockford Ready program enables anyone who has completed an Associate’s of Applied Science (A.A.S) to easily transfer their degree credentials for full-credit and earn a Bachelor’s of Science in Management Studies in as little as 24-months through a combination of online and hybrid courses.

Rockford University and Rock Valley College have long-standing transfer articulation agreements for students who begin their college studies at RVC to earn Associates of Art (A.A.) or Associates of Science (A.S.) degrees, which are degrees designed to prepare students for transfer into a four-year college. Rockford Ready differs in that it is customized more specifically for working individuals who have an A.A.S. degree. A.A.S. degrees are more career-focused programs that provide specific skill sets and certifications to go directly into the workforce.

“We are listening closely to what our area business and industry leaders are saying is needed to help their employees acquire the necessary skills and education they need for continued leadership and management growth,” said Rockford University President Dr. Eric Fulcomer. “Rockford Ready is an excellent example of how two organizations can come together to provide a creative and viable continuing education option to specifically addresses those needs. I’m impressed with our respective faculty and administrators who worked side-by-side to design this innovative bachelor’s completion curriculum. We are excited to launch the program here today with our RVC colleagues.”

RU 2019 Alumni Award WinnersAlumni Awards

12/17/2019 11:49 am

Each year the Alumni Association Board gives several awards to alumni and long-time university supporters. These awards are presented annually during the All-Alumni Dinner at Homecoming and Reunion each fall, this year held on October 4.

Alumna/Alumnus of the Year Award  Honors an alumna and/or alumnus for invaluable service to the Alumni Association and Rockford University during the past year. One award is given each year.

President Eric Fulcomer, Ph.D. (left) with Scott Kaiser ’86 (right)

Scott Kaiser ’86 – Scott is a financial advisor with Savant Capital Management, CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ professional, Accredited Investment Fiduciary® (AIF®), and a Chartered Retirement Plan SpecialistSM (CRPS®). He serves as past President of the Discovery Center Board, volunteers on the Woodlawn Arts Academy Board and the St. Rita Parish Finance Council. He continually gives back to Rockford University and has had a tremendous impact on the Women’s Golf program, new to Rockford University as of this fall, as a volunteer coach for the team. He was also instrumental in supporting this year’s Regent Golf Playday.

Mary Ashby Cheek Award – Given to a past or present non-alumni member of the Rockford University community for enriching the university experience of many by exemplifying the ideals of the University. One award is given each year.

President Fulcomer, Ph.D. (left) with Eileen Knight (middle) and Kip Knight, Ph.D. (right)

Dr. Kip Knight & Eileen V. Knight – Inspired by Kip’s mother, Maxine Rosella Burritt Knight, class of 1934, and her affinity for Rockford College, Dr. Kip Knight & Eileen V. Knight continually exemplify the ideals of Rockford University through their selfless support. Both Kip and Eileen are retired lifelong educators who value higher education. These values come to life through the endowed scholarship created in memory of Kip’s mother, their membership in the Mary Ashby Cheek Society, annual visits back to campus, and many other countless ways.

Outstanding Young Alumni Award – Given to an alumna/us who has finished her/his Rockford University tenure within the last 15 years and fulfils the ideals of Rockford University by vision, dedication, and initiative in a purposeful endeavor, or through responsible and sustained efforts in the improvements of a community, or a notable achievement in a profession, thus having brought honor and esteem to Rockford University. One award is given each year.

President Eric Fulcomer, Ph.D. (left) with Julia Steiner Halsted ’13 (right)

Julia Steiner Halsted ’13 – With more than a decade of experience working directly with public governing boards, Julia is a recognized figure in local government. As Deputy Director of Operations at Region 1 Planning Council, she serves as chief of staff managing daily operations, organizational development, professional services, communications, and legislative affairs. Julia is a current member of Govern for Impact, Rockford Chamber of Commerce Government Affairs Council, and Transform Illinois.

Talcott Cross Award– The oldest Rockford University award, the Talcott Cross is awarded to an Alumna for her constancy, devotion and a long history of meritorious service to Rockford University. One award is given each year.

President Eric Fulcomer, Ph.D. (left) with Cindy Bugajski Sundstedt ’78 (middle) and Barbara Tanaglia ’73 (right)

Cindy Bugajski Sundstedt ’78 Cindy currently serves as Director of Trade Settlements and Receivables at Cimco Resources and has served as Secretary for the Roscoe Township Cemetery Board since 2000. Already an enthusiastic supporter and advocate for Rockford University, Cindy took on additional responsibilities for the better part of 25 years, standing by her husband’s side during his time as VP of Advancement for Rockford University. Through the countless events she has attended, many connections and positive relationships she maintains with alumni, and so much more, Cindy continues to display her constancy and devotion to Rockford University.

Karl C. Williams Award– Presented to an Alumnus for his constancy, devotion and a long history of meritorious service to Rockford University. One award may be given each year.

President Eric Fulcomer, Ph.D. (left) with Ron Hoffman ’69 (right)

Ron Hoffman ’69 – A lifelong finance professional now retired from his role as Chief Operating Officer for Peregrine Capital Management, Ron continues to be a strong connector and advocate on behalf of Rockford University. This former basketball and golf team member makes it a point to maintain close friendships from his time on campus through various trips, events, and visits to campus.

Award of Distinction – Given to Alumni for fulfilling the ideals of Rockford University and bringing honor and esteem to the University in one or more of the following ways; through their vision, dedication, and initiative in a purposeful endeavor; by their responsive and sustained efforts in community improvements; or by their notable achievements in a profession. Up to three awards are given each year.

President Eric Fulcomer, Ph.D. (left) with Linda Clinton ’72/’75 (middle) and Tom Clinton ’70/’76 (right)

Tom Clinton ’70/’76 & Linda Clinton ’72/’75 – Tom and Linda Clinton founded First Love International Ministries In 2001. Tom serves as President/CEO and Linda as the Director of Children’s Ministries. In his role as President, Tom oversees First Love’s International headquarters as well as a full time staff comprised of over 300 USA and national staff workers residing in the countries of: the Philippines, Nepal, Indonesia, India, the Czech Republic, Taiwan, Ukraine, Malawi, Peru, Colombia, Kenya, and Peru.

President Eric Fulcomer, Ph.D. (left) with Jacqueline Ann DeVries ’85/’91 (right)

Award of Distinction – Jacqueline Ann DeVries ’85/’91 – Jacqueline earned both her undergraduate and graduate degrees from Rockford University. She taught in the Byron School District, Harlem School District, and at Rockford University in the Master of Arts in Teaching program. Now retired from 30+ years in teaching, she serves as the Board President & Outreach Coordinator for Unity of Rockford and gives back to many organizations, including Children’s Home and Aid, Rockford Rescue Mission, Habitat for Humanity, Rosecrance, and many more.

President Eric Fulcomer, Ph.D. (left) with Wester Wuori ’92 (right)

Award of Distinction – Wester Wuori ’92 – Wester Wuori is Chief of Staff for the City of Rockford and has more than 24 years of experience in corporate and political communications, marketing and public relations and 17 years of staff supervisory experience. He has served with various community organizations in the area including Lifescape Community Services, Golden Apple Foundation, I Bike Rockford, Transform Rockford, Discovery Center Museum, The Rockford University Alumni Association, Westminster Presbyterian Church, and Next Rockford.

students in eSports arenaEvolving Athletics

12/17/2019 11:49 am

The University announced in June that competitive eSports would be added to its growing list of student activities, clubs, and NCAA sports. Excitement about the addition of eSports immediately followed the announcement. Play will take place in the new state-of-the-art eSports arena located in the Burpee Student Center. The arena features 16 new gaming PCs completely powered by MSI with easy access for any RU student to jump in and play a few games.

Why eSports? Vice President for Student Life, Dr. Randy Worden says, “Competitive eSports gaming is growing exponentially in our region and across the country. Many area high-schools have teams and the local school district is considering the creation of a joint gaming center where their students can train and compete. Prospective and current students have shown substantial interest in being able to compete at the collegiate level. We’re incredibly excited to add eSports to our campus and provide yet another way for students to have access to diverse opportunities that enhance their overall collegiate experience.”

Rockford University plans to establish and maintain collegiate level competitive teams across a variety of games and will initially compete in the CS Starleague, considered the premier platform for collegiate level League of Legends competition. As the program continues to take shape and evolve, Rockford University is committed to developing additional teams for other competitive eSports (i.e. Rocket League, Overwatch, Counter-Strike). Teams and players at Rockford University will have the opportunity to stream gameplay, compete inter-collegiately, and play against athletes from across the world, all under the official banner of the Rockford University eSports team. 

The eSports program at Rockford University will offer students several real-world advantages. In addition to competitive gaming, students will have opportunities to gain experience in graphic and media design, social media branding and marketing, event planning and management, and communications and broadcasting.

All eSports team members will have numerous opportunities to engage within the greater campus community in important ways that will be an asset to their futures. eSports Coordinator and Graduate Assistant Hall Director Clay Duffy ’17 adds, “While some people may think of eSports as only consisting of competitive video gaming, there is virtually limitless potential for students and athletes  to learn new skills, make new friends, and express themselves in creative ways that ultimately heighten their educational experience.”

To follow the first season of Regents eSports action on Twitter, go to @Regents_eSports.

Team Update

Regents eSports is proud to announce the players chosen to represent the team during its first-ever season of collegiate competition.

League of Legends Varsity Squad: Luca Bartolo, Bin Meng, Jincen Shuai, Juan Gonzalez, James Dean, and Tergel-Od Ganzurkh.

Overwatch Varsity Squad: Aaron Postle, Jeremy Weaver, Cory Godin, Mack Freeze, Abbie Lawrence, Toby Asbach, and Abdulrahman Almehmadi.

Rainbow Six: Siege: Darin Van Fleet, Colby Glackin, Tanner Elliott, Conley Gustafson, Mitchell Tan, and Ben Siewierski.


Criminal Justice made its debut this fall as a new major degree offering. The degree is part of the University’s Sociology and Criminal Justice department, which is part of the College of Social Sciences, Commerce and Education. Criminal Justice previously was offered as a concentration within the Sociology major.

The Criminal Justice degree is designed to provide students with a wide range of opportunities including academic internships at local agencies or organizations within the Rockford community and beyond by preparing students for a variety of careers, such as law enforcement (local, state, and federal), probation and parole, pre-trial services, law, homeland security, forensic science, fish and game wardens, and detectives and criminal investigators.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment of police and detectives is projected to grow seven percent from 2016 to 2026. The continued need for public safety is expected to lead to new openings for officers.

Chair, Department of Sociology & Criminal Justice, Lynn Newhart, Ph.D.Chair of the Department of Sociology and Criminal Justice, Lynn Newhart, Ph.D. (pictured right), says, “In this program, the all-university and collegial requirements ensure a strong liberal arts foundation for a more specialized program of study. Our Criminal Justice curriculum takes an interdisciplinary approach to criminal justice incorporating courses from criminal justice, political science, and sociology.” She also notes that the interdisciplinary approach is important since it offers appeal to students who are interested in criminal justice careers other than law enforcement. A sampling of classes includes: Introduction to Criminal Justice, Transnational Organized Crime, Homeland Security, Terrorism, Law and Society, Constitutional Law: Rights of the Accused, Juvenile Delinquency, and Criminology. Dr. Newhart adds that students will gain knowledge and skills in research, writing, public policy, criminology, corrections, juvenile delinquency, terrorism, and transnational organized crime.

Rockford Police Department’s Assistant Deputy Chief Michael Dalke consulted with the University and Dr. Newhart to provide additional expertise and guidance on shaping the criminal justice program. “Having this program at Rockford University will benefit the institution, the students and community in many ways,” states Dalke. “Knowing the challenges that are presented in Rockford and having a deeper understanding of the community will set these students at an advantage. Building the relationships with the community and hands-on learning through local internships with RPD and others, along with a strong degree curriculum, will help prepare students for a successful career upon graduation.”

Students interested in the Criminal Justice Program at Rockford University are encouraged to contact Rockford University Admissions at 815-226-4050 or email Dr. Newhart at for more information.