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Campus News / News

Rockford University to present Jane Addams Medal for Distinguished Service to Ngozi O. Ezike, MD Director of Illinois Department of Public Health

11/20/2021 9:32 am

Dr. Ezike honored for her service to the people of the state of Illinois during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Rockford, Ill. (November 19, 2021) — Rockford University, the region’s leading private four-year institution, will award Ngozi O. Ezike, MD Director of the Illinois Department of Public Health, with the 39th Jane Addams Medal during a ceremony held on campus on Friday, November 19, 2021. The medal, presented by Rockford University President Eric W. Fulcomer, Ph.D., and given on behalf of the university and the Board of Trustees, honors the tradition of alumna Jane Addams in recognition of her outstanding character and significant contributions to society.

“Rockford University is honored to present the Jane Addams Medal to Dr. Ngozi Ezike,” said Fulcomer. “Dr. Ezike has shown incredible resilience in the face of the many challenges presented by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Through it all, Dr. Ezike has proved to be an empathetic, consistent, and guiding force for the state of Illinois.”

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 a taken stand in their life that required critical thinking and courageous action. Given on behalf of the university and the Board of Trustees, it honors the tradition of Jane Addams in recognition of her outstanding character and significant contributions to society. Medal recipients, like Jane Addams, are pioneers in their professions, outstanding in character, and recognized for their contributions to the arts, sciences, and society. Dr. Ezike will be the 39th recipient and recognized for her admirable service to our state during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The award was established in 1944 by a Rockford College trustee, Mr. George Frazer, and the medal was designed by Chicago artist Andrene Kauffman. The medal was first awarded to medical pioneer Dr. Florence Rena Sabin during the college’s Centennial Celebration in 1947. Since then, the Jane Addams Medal has been awarded to 38 of the world’s most outstanding women in science, education, humanities, arts, law, literature, and other fields of endeavor. Previous recipients include Senator Tammy Duckworth and Sandra Day O’Connor.

A full list of medal recipients can be found on Rockford University’s website.

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

For more information: Emma Bergstrom, Rockford University, 815.847.0472,

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