reporting pixel for marketing campaign

Campus News / News

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 has named Stephen Kull as its next vice president for advancement, President Eric W. Fulcomer, Ph.D., announced today. Kull will start in his new role at Rockford University on August 5. He is currently serving as Associate Vice President for Advancement at Central Michigan University, located in Mount Pleasant, Mich. Kull will serve as Rockford University’s senior development officer and strategist for the Advancement Division, and as chief development adviser to the President, the Trustees, and other University officials on all matters involving current or potential philanthropic support.

“Stephen’s impressive background in all areas of donor engagement and development, specifically within higher education, will be of tremendous benefit to Rockford University,” said Fulcomer. “His proven experience in growing and deepening relationships with alumni, outside donors and the greater community will enhance the University’s ability to provide additional resources that support a stronger educational experience for our students. I am extremely pleased to welcome Stephen to our leadership team and look forward to working with him in growing our philanthropic efforts.”

As Vice President for Advancement, Kull will oversee all areas of Advancement which includes Alumni Relations, Planned Giving, Major Gifts, Corporate and Foundation Gifts, Data and Gift Management, Prospect and Grant Research, and Marketing & Communications. He brings nearly 15-years of higher education experience to his new role. At Central Michigan, he successfully managed fundraising efforts for the “Fire up for Excellence” $100 million campaign, the largest in the institution’s history. Kull previously served director of development – gift planning, senior director of development and interim assistant vice president for advancement at Eastern Illinois University, as well as in other development roles at Blackburn College and Concordia Seminary in St. Louis.

“I immediately related to President Fulcomer’s focus on the importance of supporting students’ success inside and outside of the classroom,” Kull said. “Employers today are not just looking for academically prepared graduates, but more importantly those graduates who represent character and the culture of their organizations. The University has an impressive and engaged alumni base from all corners of the globe and I look forward to working closely with them, along with parents and friends, to foster Rockford University’s remarkable legacy so that we can continue to change lives today and for years to come.”

A native of Texas, Kull earned his bachelor’s degree in sociology from Texas A&M University and has completed several advanced leadership and management certifications from University of Notre Dame, University of Michigan, Purdue University and Texas A& M University. He and his wife, Angela, have four young children and look forward to relocating to the Rockford area.

eSports generic news imageRockford University will be one of the first colleges in the area to offer a competitive eSports team beginning with the start of the 2019-2020 academic year. According to NCSA (Next College Student Athlete) there are currently only 12 colleges and Universities in Illinois offering eSports teams.

To support the new team, a dedicated eSports arena will be located in the center of the Burpee Student Center.  The arena will feature 16 dedicated gaming consoles powered by popular and well-known gaming system company MSI.

According to Vice President for Student Life, Dr. Randy Worden, “Completive eSports gaming is growing exponentially in our region and the 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. eSports at Rockford University will compete initially in the CS Starleague. This is the premier platform for collegiate level League of Legends competition. As the program continues grow, the University is committed to developing additional teams for other competitive eSports (i.e. Rocket League, Overwatch, Counter-Strike). eSports 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.

For more information about eSports at Rockford University, contact eSports Coordinator Clay Duffy, 815-394-4287.

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.

Rockford University’s will hold its 165th commencement on Sunday, May 19, 2 p.m. at the Coronado Performing Arts Center, 314 N. Main St. in downtown Rockford. Approximately 350 students from 22 states and 12 countries will be awarded degrees and recognized for their significant achievements.

Speaker update:


The University is pleased to welcome Bern Sundstedt, alumnus from the class of 1977, former Vice President for Institutional Advancement at Rockford University to address the 2019 class of graduates. 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.

Sundstedt holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in acting from Rockford University and went on to attend Yale University’s Drama School, from which he graduated in 1981 with a Master of Fine Arts degree. Upon graduation he set off on a national tour of Othello which culminated in a four month run on Broadway. The years following, led to stints off-off-Broadway and in regional theatre and television.

Returning to Rockford in the early 90s, Sundstedt joined his alma mater in 1994 as Director of Grants, while also periodically teaching the advanced acting sequence as an adjunct instructor. Having taken on positions of increasing responsibility in Alumni and Development he served as Vice President for Institutional Advancement and most recently as Senior Project Specialist. In this, his 25th year working at the University, he is retiring in June.

Due to an unforeseen and unavoidable scheduling conflict, originally scheduled speaker Heather Nauert is no longer able to attend.

Honorary Degree Recipient:

Dr. Eugene Braunwald Honorary Doctorate_2019Rockford University will also award world-renowned cardiologist, pioneer in the pathophysiology of heart failure, and special friend of the University, Eugene Braunwald, M.D., 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.

Dr. Braunwald trained at New York University School of Medicine. At the age of 25 he 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. He soon became 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 Rockford University alumni from the class of 1969, Drs. Marc and Janice Pfeffer to provide significant insight into the treatment of patients who suffer from acute myocardial infarction and unstable angina.

Tickets are required to attend the ceremony and are limited to degree candidates and their guests. Tickets must be secured in advance are not be available at the door of the Coronado.

Fulcomer_Eric 4x5_2016President Eric W. Fulcomer, Ph.D., will be attending the second U.S.-Mexico Higher Education Summit in Chicago, Ill., on April 24–27. The summit is hosted by the Council of Independent Colleges in collaboration with the Mexican Federation of Private Higher Education Institutions (FIMPES) and Santander Universidades and Universia. A delegation of 23 Mexican rectors and senior campus colleagues will participate, as will 31 college presidents and senior leaders from 23 CIC member colleges and universities. The summit will emphasize the importance of international exchange in today’s “America First” political climate.

Summit events will take place at five CIC member institutions in the Chicago area: DePaul University, Dominican University, North Central College, North Park University and Rockford University. Rockford University will host summit participants for a campus visit on Saturday, April 27.

CIC President Richard Ekman noted, “In the current climate of constrained international cooperation, CIC reaffirms the importance of international exchange for the preparation of informed citizens and responsible global participants. Our Mexican neighbors have a special relationship to colleges in the U.S.”

The Summit follows five years during which delegations of Mexican rectors participated in CIC’s annual Presidents Institute, the largest annual gathering of college and university presidents in the U.S., and an inaugural Summit held in Guadalajara, Mexico, in 2017. Roberta S. Jacobson, former U.S. Ambassador to Mexico; Antonio Cuesta, acting consul general of Mexico in Chicago; Margaret B. Hug, director of regional education initiatives for the U.S. Department of State; and Rebeca Vargas, president and CEO of U.S.-Mexico Leaders Network, are expected to address the summit.

Session topics include innovation in internationalization, the status of student and faculty exchange programs, cross-border articulation agreements, the nature of global leadership and the situation of undocumented students. Participants will also explore joint summer programs and other forms of educational and scholarly partnership and possibilities for association-to-association partnerships. As a result of the summit, participants intend to provide enhanced exchange opportunities for students and faculty members in both countries; provide students with increased access to internships in Mexico and the United States; and allow faculty members and students to collaborate in shared research projects and development programs.

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.