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COVID-19 Updates

View the latest information regarding the University’s response to the COVID-19 here.

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Campus News / News

For the safety of the campus community, the campus will be open only to current students, faculty, staff, established vendors, and registered guests. Signage will be posted at the State Street and Turner Street entrances, as well as to the entrances of all buildings. This is in effect beginning March 18, 2020, until further notice. 

Areas like Admission, Student Administrative Services (SAS), and the Howard Colman Library have put protocols in place that restrict in-person contact while still providing service for our current and prospective students. Please don’t hesitate to reach out via email or phone if you have any questions. More information about the campus response to COVID-19 can be found on the University’s website COVID-19 Updates page. 


Rockford University will be extending its spring break through Sunday, March 22. Please see the following letter to Students from Dr. Randy Worden, Vice President for Student Life for additional details. 

Dear Rockford University Students

Information surrounding COVID-19 and its spread within the United States is a rapidly evolving situation. As such, the University remains in regular contact with the Winnebago County Health Department (WCHD) to ensure we’re ready to respond appropriately if the coronavirus disease 2019 – COVID-19 – spreads to our area. We are also proactively working on contingency plans to ensure we are taking necessary steps to ensure the health and well-being of our campus community, as well as continuity for teaching and learning. We reiterate that at this time, there are no confirmed cases in the region, including in Winnebago County.

There are many factors to take into consideration and difficult decisions to make during this unprecedented event. Our decisions are based on current guidance and information from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), the State of Illinois, and WCHD. The University’s focus is on the health and safety of our students and employees through continued preparedness and prevention.

Rockford University will be putting the following decisions and protocols in place to help limit COVID-19 risk our students and our campus:

  • Spring Break is extended through Sunday, March 22. It is our intent to resume in-person classes on Monday, March 23. We will continue to monitor the most recent information available and inform the campus of any changes.
  • Extending Spring Break will allow faculty to prepare for online instruction should that become necessary.
  • Campus will remain open during this time and offices will be open normal business hours.
  • Classes and co-curricular events, such as athletic practices/competitions and theater rehearsals, will not be held during the extension. Classes, practices, competitions, and rehearsals will begin again Monday, March 23, unless new information changes these plans.
  • Additional cleaning will be conducted in all public and common areas, including residence halls.
  • If we have a student(s) exposed to COVID-19 outside of our region, we have a self-quarantine location designated and we are in regular contact with the county health department and prepared to follow recommendations and protocols they provide.
  • The International Food Festival scheduled for April 4 is canceled.
  • Residential students may return to campus at any time, but it is recommended/requested that students wait until Sunday, March 22.
  • Nursing and Education students can expect to hear from their instructors regarding clinicals or observations.


Lang Wellness Center updated procedures:

  • Lang Wellness Center is implementing telehealth through a Call First system as recommended by the Center for Disease Control. Rockford University students, faculty, and staff will need to call 815-226-4083 to set up appointments to speak with the nurse, counselor, disability support services coordinator, and office manager.
  • We are unable to allow walk-in patients until further notice.
  • If you suspect you have been exposed to someone with COVID-19, we advise that you call your health care provider or contact the Illinois Coronavirus Hotline
    (1-800-889-3931 or SICK@ILLINOIS.GOV).
  • If you are scheduled to come in to see the nurse and are ill, only use the blue door/entrance C. If you have scheduled a well visit with the nurse, only use the faculty side glass door/entrance A and check-in at the small gray desk that has been set up upon entering the Wellness Center side. When an appointment is being scheduled, Lang Wellness Center staff will remind you where to check-in.
  • Please continue to be diligent with your handwashing, social distancing, and stay home if you are sick!

The public can help prevent the spread of COVID-19 and other respiratory illnesses, like flu by:

    • WASHING YOUR HANDS OFTEN with soap and warm water.
    • COVERING YOUR COUGH, cough and sneeze into your upper sleeve or a tissue that you throw away.
    • CLEANING SURFACES OFTEN, increase cleaning of frequently touched surfaces.
    • STAYING HOME, if you are not feeling well, stay home to keep others from getting sick.

We realize that these changes will cause disruption—and that you will have additional questions based on the above information—but the risk of not acting outweighs the inconvenience of these temporary measures.  

I appreciate your patience and cooperation and I urge you to stay informed of the facts surrounding COVID-19 and take preventative measures to ensure your health and safety.



Randy Worden. D.Min
VP for Student Life






Rockford University Students, Faculty and Staff,

Rockford University has convened its Emergency Operations Policy Group and Campus Incident Response Team to ensure the University is actively assessing the most current information and guidance related to the spread of COVID-19 (Coronavirus) and Influenza. We stress that at this point, the risk to the campus remains low for COVID-19. However, there are measures we should be taking at this time to help prevent the spread of these viruses.

The public can help prevent the spread of COVID-19 and other respiratory illnesses, like flu by:

    • WASHING YOUR HANDS OFTEN with soap and warm water.
    • COVERING YOUR COUGH, cough and sneeze into your upper sleeve or a tissue that you throw away.
    • CLEANING SURFACES OFTEN, increase cleaning of frequently touched surfaces.
    • STAYING HOME, if you are not feeling well, stay home to keep others from getting sick.

Rockford University administrators are working closely with the Winnebago County Health Department (WCHD) to ensure we’re ready to respond if the coronavirus disease 2019 – COVID-19 – spreads to our area. There are no confirmed cases in the region, including in Winnebago County.

As spring break is upon us, domestic travel is inevitable. Domestic travelers are urged to remain diligent in monitoring the latest guidance on COVID-19 and to follow all preventative measures.

It is likely that international travelers may face further restrictions while they are abroad or upon returning to the United States. Presently, the CDC does not recommend travel in China, Iran, South Korea, and Italy. Because this list may expand, we encourage international travelers to consult the CDC’s website

Rockford University will continue to follow all government-issued advisories from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the U.S. State Department, the Winnebago County Health Department (WCHD), and the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH).

Campus Activity during Spring Break:

Rockford University’s offices are open during spring break from March 9-12, 2020. Offices are closed on Friday, March 13. University staff will continue to monitor the situation actively and be prepared to offer additional information and guidance as the situation evolves.




Eric W. Fulcomer, Ph.D.

To commemorate the 173rd anniversary of the signing of Rockford University’s charter, this year’s Charter Day Convocation will showcase a dramatic reading depicting the school’s role in saving World War II victims. This event will take place on Monday, March 2, at 4 p.m. in Maddox Theatre, Clark Arts Center.

This year’s Charter Day brings to life the stories of five people whose lives had been broken by World War II and who found at then Rockford College, now Rockford University, a welcoming community that provided them opportunities and an educational environment that war had taken away from them. The presentation will be an adaptation of a chapter entitled “Rescue Stories” from the book “We Are a College at War: Women Working for Victory in World War II,” written by Rockford University professors, Christine Bruun, Catherine Forslund, and Mary Weaks-Baxter. The book weaves together the individual World War II experiences of students and faculty at the then all-female Rockford College to draw a broader picture of the role American women and college students played during this defining period in United States history.

The presentation will feature seven performers who will describe how the president of Rockford College, Mary Ashby Cheek (1937-1954), rescued refugees fleeing from the horrors of the war by welcoming them into the College community. The seven performers include Professor Emerita Christine Bruun, Ph.D. and her husband David Bruun; Professor Emeritus Rufus Cadigan, Ph.D.; Professor Catherine Forslund, Ph.D.; Professor Mary Weaks-Baxter, Ph.D.; and Performing Arts students Connor Burek, Elizabeth Dutch, and Rebekah Smith. This event also includes an academic procession of faculty in traditional robes depicting their rank, with stoles representing their respective alma maters and degrees.

There is no charge to attend, but tickets are required. This event will take place in Maddox Theatre, in the Clark Arts Center, located at 5050 East State Street, Rockford. Clark Arts is accessible. Tickets can be obtained by contacting the Box Office at 815-226-4100 or

This event is also part of the University’s spring Forum Series. View the full list of Forum Series events at

Rockford University’s Performing Arts Department presents Triumph of Love, a musical adapted from the book The Triumph of Love by James Magruder, with lyrics by Susan Birkenhead, and music by Jeffrey Stock. This performance is directed by Professor of Performing Arts, Jeff Hendry. The show runs Thursday, February 27- Saturday, February 29, 7:30 p.m. and Sunday, March 1, 2 p.m. in Maddox Theatre, located in the Clark Arts Center, 5050 East State Street, Rockford. The Clark Arts Center is accessible. 

First performed on Broadway in 1997, this chamber musical adaption of the classic French comedy of the same name, is described as being full of delicious deception, gender confusion and comic buffoonery. As multiple romantic storylines collided, the beautiful Princess Leonide, (played by Cecelia Boynton a theatre major from Greenmount, Maryland) and the handsome Agis (played by Bryce Panzella a musical theatre major from Caledonia, Illinois) must decide which the more powerful force is; the mind or the heart. More than 30 students are involved in this production.

Tickets are required, and seating is limited. Single ticket admission for adults $12, seniors age 55 and up, and students is $9 unless otherwise noted. To reserve tickets, contact the Box Office at The complete list of this season’s productions is available on the University’s website at

Rockford University’s Puri School of Business is hosting two free events in March. The first is an information session about the bachelor’s degree completion programs for working adults on Wednesday, March 4. On Thursday, March 5 is the second in a series of three breakfast briefings where University faculty present topics that emphasize practical application of skills that can be applied immediately.

Both events are held in the Puri School of Business, located on the Rockford University campus, 5050 East State Street, Rockford.


Business Management Degree Information Session
Wednesday, March 4, 2020
5:30 – 7:00 p.m.

Anyone interested in learning more about earning Rockford University’s Business Management Bachelor’s Completion is encouraged to attend the Business Management Information Session. This program provides a flexible option for individuals who may already have an A.A.S, A.A., or A.S. degree. Attendees will be provided an in-depth look at how the program helps advance career opportunities, including details on the program and admission requirements. Guests will also be able to speak one-on-one with advisors and faculty.

This event will conclude at approximately 7 p.m. There is no cost to attend but registration is requested. For more information on this event and to register call 815-226-4040 or visit


Breakfast Briefing
Thursday, March 5, 2020
7:30 – 8:45 a.m.

Assistant Professor Jeff Karlberg, Ph.D. will provide insight for skills that can be applied on the job in his talk titled “No Tears, No Fears: Removing Emotion from Negotiation”. He will discuss how negotiations employ crafty critical thinking and making counteroffers that can cement relationships. This event also features a free hot breakfast.  This event will conclude at approximately 8:45 a.m. Registration is free but required. To register for this event visit

Rockford University will host a Future Regent Visit Day is on Saturday, February 22, 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, interact with current students, and test drive the University’s academic offerings.

The February 22 Visit Day also includes a complimentary lunch. Check-in begins at 10 a.m. on Rockford University’s campus, located at 5050 East State Street, Rockford. The Visit Day will conclude at approximately 2:30 p.m. To learn more about Future Regent Visit Day and to register, call 815-226-4050 or visit to reserve a spot today.

Rockford University welcomes Ken Nwadike Jr. on Monday, February 17, 7 p.m., Severson Auditorium, as part of the University’s spring Forum Series. Ken E. Nwadike, Jr., is a peace activist, motivational speaker, video journalist, and is also known as the “Free Hugs Guy” online.

Nwadike Jr. is the founder of the Free Hugs Project, which produces motivational videos to spread love, inspire change, and raise awareness of social issues. In 2014, Nwadike launched the Free Hugs Project to spread love in response to the bombing at the Boston Marathon. The Free Hugs Project gained popularity in 2016, as Nwadike made major news headlines for his peace-keeping efforts and de-escalating violence during protests, riots, and political rallies. Since then Nwadike has made many appearances on news programs and radio broadcasts worldwide, including CNN, USA Today, Good Morning Britain, and BBC News. Today his ‘Free Hugs’ videos have reached hundreds of millions of views on Facebook and YouTube, and he was even featured in a Super Bowl commercial during this year’s February 2, 2020 game.

Ken’s keynote address will explore 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.

Severson Auditorium is located in Scarborough Hall on the University’s campus, 5050 East State Street, Rockford. 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 spring 2020 Forum Series is available on the University’s website at

Rockford University President Eric Fulcomer, Ph.D., with Illinois Senator Tammy Duckworth (D-IL).
Rockford University President Eric Fulcomer, Ph.D., with Illinois Senator Tammy Duckworth (D-IL) at the Jane Addams Medal Presentation on February 7, 2020.

​Rockford University President Eric W. Fulcomer, Ph.D., presented the Jane Addams Medal for Distinguished Service to The Honorable Tammy Duckworth (D – IL) at a special presentation on Friday, February 7, 2020. The medal, given on behalf of the University and the Board of Trustees, honors the tradition of Jane Addams in recognition of her outstanding character and significant contributions to society. 

Dr. Fulcomer said, “Rockford University is truly honored to present the Jane Addams Medal to Senator Duckworth. She embodies the ideals of service and justice for the betterment of our society and in the tradition of Jane Addams, she has shown tremendous courage and dedication in her service to the citizens of Illinois and our nation.”

Jane Addams grew up in Cedarville, Illinois. She graduated from Rockford Female Seminary (Rockford University) in 1881. Shortly after that, she established the world-renowned Hull-House Settlement Community. Hull House was designed to provide access to social and educational opportunities for those individuals newly arrived to Chicago. Through her work for peace, social justice, and the eradication of hunger, Jane Addams was awarded the Nobel Prize in 1931.

The Jane Addams Medal is awarded to women who have taken stands in their lives that required critical thinking and courageous action. Medal recipients, in the tradition of Jane Addams, are pioneers in their professions, outstanding in character, and recognized for their contributions to the arts, sciences, and society. The award was established in 1944 by a Rockford College trustee, Mr. George Frazer, and the medal was designed by Chicago artist Andrene Kauffman. Each bronze-cast medal is separately inscribed with the name of the recipient and presented at a special ceremony. The medal was first awarded to Dr. Florence Rena Sabin during the College’s Centennial Celebration on May 3, 1947. Since that time, the Jane Addams Medal has been awarded to 38, now including Senator Tammy Duckworth, of the world’s most outstanding women in science, education, humanities, arts, law, literature, and other fields of endeavor.

A full list of medal recipients along with a video recording of the medal presentation can be found on Rockford University’s website –

Rockford, IL (February 04, 2020): Former Congressmen John Cox and Don Manzullo will discuss the role of super PACs, big money, and the polarization of politics in America on Tuesday, February 18, 2020, from 6:00 – 7:00 p.m. at Rockford University’s Severson Auditorium located in Scarborough Hall. The event is free and open to the public.

The Citizens United case brings to light concerns regarding the massive amounts of money being poured into today’s elections which allows individuals, corporations, and others to spend unlimited amounts of money to influence campaigns. The issue crosses both sides of the aisle as Manzullo, a Republican and Cox, a Democrat, who both represented the 16th Congressional District of Illinois, will attest. They plan to share their insights on the impact big money has on the political environment – both from an insider’s perspective in Congress and as active community members.

“We want to draw attention to the issues of bundling, independent expenditures, and Super PACs,” shared Cox and Manzullo. “It has created chaos in the political system and unfair advantage, exacerbating an already hostile political environment. The more our citizens understand about the central issues of campaign finance, the better they can advocate for reform.”

The program is being co-sponsored by the Institute of World Affairs and Trade at Rockford University (IWAT), Rockford Public Library, and Dr. Ron Lee, Assistant Professor of Political Science. This program partnership is an opportunity to learn about the central issues of campaign finance and continue efforts to depolarize political discourse in our region like those being led by Rockford Public Library through its Better Angels Skills Building Workshops.

About the Institute of World Affairs and Trade at Rockford University (IWAT)

The Institute of World Affairs and Trade at Rockford University is a non-partisan public policy organization. It is dedicated to exploring domestic and international issues and their impact at a local level.



Don Manzullo, 

Senior Advisor and Assistant Director, Institute of World Affairs and Trade at Rockford University

Adjunct Instructor, Rockford University

815-985 6415