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Catalyst Summer 2016 • Rockford University

Inside this issue Dr. Robert L. Head, 17th President Retires p3 & p4 Welcome Dr. Eric W. Fulcomer, 18th President p6 Commencement p7 Performing Arts p8 Sciences p11 & p12 Gala p14 Faculty & student news p17 Athletics p20 Class notes p22

Catalyst is published by the Communications & Alumni offices within the Institutional Advancement division. Letters to the editor, feedback and feature suggestions are welcome. Deadline for correspondence to be considered for the next issue of Catalyst is Sept. 30, 2016. Contact information: Office of Communications, 815.394.5041 or Cover. President Robert L. Head in front of Adams Arch on the RU campus.


President Head offers a thumbs up during the 2016 Commencement ceremony. (For more, see story on Page 7.)

Parting words As I end my tenure as president of Rockford University, I continue to reflect on many of the experiences of the past eight years. At the pinnacle of the list are the many friends Sheryl and I have made throughout the Rockford University community. Having been affiliated with several institutions as a student, administrator, teacher and trustee, I’ve learned that each is truly defined by those who are most closely associated with it. Friends, donors, trustees, students, faculty and staff nurture a distinct identity and culture. Whether conversing with graduates from 60 years ago or more recent ones, there is a common theme of gratitude for the quality and personalization of the educational experience enjoyed at Rockford University. We have made great strides in student enrollment, our financial standing and community recognition. The good news is that we were able to do so because of the long-standing character and quality of our academic programs. It is the commitment within the community to maintain the character of an education grounded in the liberal arts and focused on the individual that is the foundation of Rockford’s unique culture. During my inauguration in 2008, I stated that significant financial challenges, low student enrollment, deferred maintenance and lagging technological capabilities must be overcome so that we could encourage an environment that allows members of the faculty to do what each does best – engage the intellectual curiosity of students, inspire artistic creativity, encourage the search for knowledge, and so much more. To a significant degree, we have made progress on those goals.

Challenges and opportunities will continue to present themselves in the future. I am confident that our community of learners, educators, fiduciaries and stewards will be equal to each challenge and respond to opportunities in ways that will continue to strengthen Rockford University. The phrase “What’s past is prologue” is contained in Shakespeare’s The Tempest. It has become popular to use the phrase to amplify the connection between the past and the present. Dr. Eric Fulcomer is now the 18th president of the University. The Board of Trustees and the faculty also begin the year with new officers. With change will come a new vision, new plans and new priorities. Nevertheless, I know that Rockford University will continue to enjoy a great academic character and positively impact many generations of future students. During my convocation speech last August, I shared a thought paraphrasing words from Alfred Lord Tennyson’s Ulysses and I’ll share the same now. My love and work for Rockford University will continue for a lifetime – well beyond my eighth and final year at the helm. Today, I know I am a part of all that I have met and Rockford University – this place, this institution, this community – is a part of me.

Pres. Robert L. and Sheryl Head are presented the Mary Ashby Cheek Award by Board of Trustee Chair Tom Muldowney ’74.

President Emeritus,


Headwinds With confidence that a return to prosperity was possible, President Robert L. Head defied the odds and leaves with Rockford University positioned to reach new highs.

Without exaggeration, an argument can be made that Rockford University, along with the entire Rockford community, has benefited from Dr. Robert Head’s presence. Since coming to Rockford in 2008, Dr. Head immersed himself in all things Rockford – in part living up to the 169-year legacy left to him as the leader of Rockford’s oldest institution. By virtue of his position, he became directly connected to and intimately involved in the work of for-profit and not-for-profit business throughout the region, all the while maintaining a curious and decided desire to see the entire region and world improve through the advancement of the educational process – a commitment he has lived throughout his career. Several initiatives and programs were brought forth under Dr. Head’s leadership. Among them, the revitalization of the University’s international programs. Forging relationships with international partners and boosting the resources of the Office of Global Affairs has resulted in a significant increase in students coming to RU from abroad. Growing from just four students in 2010, the University welcomed more than 60 students from 23 countries in 2016. Increasing access to education has been a top priority for Dr. Head and has been accomplished through commitments from the University and in collaboration with local organizations. Rockford Promise, in partnership with the Community Foundation of Northern Illinois, offers

Dr. Eric Fulcomer and President Head visit after the 2016 Charter Day Convocation.


more than $3 million in scholarships to Rockford area students. This is in addition to the existing $2 million commitment Dr. Head has pledged annually to area students. More than $9 million in institutional aid is committed to all RU students each year. Announced in April 2016, and spearheaded by Dr. Head and RPS Superintendent Dr. Ehren Jarrett, the Rockford Public Schools Education Pathways program offers RPS 205 graduates who have an expressed interest in teaching a clear path forward to reach their goals. Students who meet admission criteria can enroll at Rockford University and receive a special financial aid package that allows for discounted tuition toward a four-year teaching degree, making it accessible to more RPS 205 students. While attending Rockford University, students will be able to work with RPS 205 for summer school or extracurricular activities to help pay for tuition. After completing the required coursework, participants would student-teach at an RPS 205 school. When they complete their degree, these 20 alumni would each year be among the strongest candidates for teaching positions in RPS 205. Superintendent Dr. Ehren Jarrett says of the partnership, “This long-term investment in our students is the best way to ensure a consistent talent pipeline, made up of our own best and brightest students.” In the community, Dr. Head was omnipresent at functions, during which he helped facilitate connections by and among those with whom he came in contact. He effectively utilized his core network of staff and board members to not only advance the interests of the University, but the greater Rockford community at large. The numbers speak to the strengthened foundation which maintains a $23 million annual budget. RU has finished the last 10 fiscal years in the black, assets have increased in each of the last nine years, enrollments have reached all-time highs, and according to a 2013 study, the University exerts an economic impact of just more than $118 million annually. Additionally, as part of the public campaign announced last fall, Rock Solid & Ready: The Campaign for Rockford University, $12 million has been raised against a $17.3 million goal to execute programmatic and capital initiatives all aimed at enhancing the student experience. Those numbers, while impressive, don’t speak to the heart of the University’s work to transform lives; its desire to do so stems directly back to the example set forth by its 17th president, Dr. Robert L. Head.


Eric W. Fulcomer, Ph.D., takes the helm as 18th President of Rockford University July 1, 2016, marked the first day in office for Rockford University’s 18th President. Dr. Fulcomer was one of four finalists selected in the nation-wide search process to name Dr. Robert L. Head’s successor. Dr. Head announced in February 2015 that he would retire at the conclusion of his contract on June 30, 2016. Dr. Fulcomer’s appointment was finalized with a unanimous vote at the University’s Board of Trustees meeting on Saturday, February 20, 2016. Previously, Dr. Fulcomer served as the Vice President for Enrollment Management at Rockford University and has more than two decades of leadership experience in higher education. “I am honored and humbled to have been selected by the Board of Trustees to serve as the 18th President of Rockford University,” stated Dr. Fulcomer. “Since joining the institution three years ago, I have been so impressed by our highly distinguished faculty who excel in their fields and who prepare our students well for graduate school, vocation and active participation in a global society. I have been equally impressed by our many dedicated staff members who support our students in so many ways. I believe that the education we provide at Rockford University is indeed the very best of what American higher 6

education has to offer: grounded in the liberal arts, extended by professional and practical experience. I look forward to working with our faculty, staff, students, board, alumni and friends as we continue to build a strong future for our great University.” In addition to his enrollment management responsibilities at Rockford University, Dr. Fulcomer supervised the areas of student administrative services, student life, athletics and global affairs. Prior to coming to Rockford, Dr. Fulcomer was Vice President for Enrollment Management and Student Life at Bluffton University in Bluffton, Ohio. He served there from 1993 to 2012. He has teaching experience at both Bluffton University and Bowling Green State University. Dr. Fulcomer received his doctorate in Higher Education Administration from the University of Toledo, his master’s degree in College Student Personnel from Bowling Green State University and his bachelor’s degree in English Language and Literature, cum laude, from Eastern Michigan University. He and his wife Andrea, a physician assistant, live in Rockford and are proud parents of two teenage children, Noah and Anna.

Commencement 2016 Rockford University’s 162nd Commencement Ceremony was held on Sunday, May 15, at 2:00 p.m., at the Coronado Performing Arts Center in downtown Rockford. Bachelor of Arts, Bachelor of Fine Arts, Bachelor of Science, Bachelor of Science in Management Studies, Bachelor of Science in Nursing, Master of Arts in Teaching and Master of Business Administration degrees were awarded to approximately 336 students. The 2016 graduates are from 16 states and 14 countries, including Bosnia, China, France, Israel, Japan, Kenya, Kyrgyzstan, Mexico, Nigeria, Russia, Tajikistan, Turkey and Yemen. Charles Colman, chair of the University’s Trusteeship Committee had the honor of presenting President Head for the status of President Emeritus which was then formally conferred by Board of Trustee Chairman Thomas Muldowney ’74. President Head shared the following with the graduates and those in attendance, “It has been my great privilege to serve Rockford University. For whatever contributions I have made, my greatest rewards are based in the many accomplishments of our graduates, including those that will be forthcoming as the Class of 2016 begins to make its impact on the world.” Amid a standing ovation, a deeply touched Dr. Head offered a simple thumbs-up to the crowd and quickly got back to the business of celebrating the graduating students. Also recognized during the ceremony were retiring faculty Dr. Thomas McIntyre, associate professor of Anthropology and Sociology (24 years of service) and Dr. Susan Azar Porterfield, professor of English (27 years of service.) Both were conferred emeriti status in recognition of their many years of dedicated service. Student Government Association President and Student Trustee Monica Parsons (pictured above right) provided the message on behalf of the graduates. Parsons, a Rockford native, graduated magna cum laude with a bachelor of arts in Spanish and a bachelor of science in Mathematics. ‌ his year’s distinguished guest speaker was U.S. Surgeon General, Vice T Admiral (VADM) Vivek H. Murthy, M.D., M.B.A. Dr. Murthy was appointed as America’s Doctor on December 15, 2014, and serves as the nation’s 19th United States Surgeon General. Dr. Murthy is responsible for communicating the best available scientific information to the public regarding ways to improve personal health and the health of the nation. He oversees the operations of the U.S. Public Health Service Commissioned Corps, comprised of approximately 6,700 uniformed health officers who serve in locations around the world to promote, protect and advance the health and safety of our nation.


e g n i r F s t i f e Ben

Twenty students and three faculty members embarked on the trip of a lifetime when they traveled to Scotland this August to perform at the world’s largest international arts festival, the Edinburgh Festival Fringe. The festival typically showcases more than 3,000 performances from 49 different countries. The University was at the festival for two weeks in August and performances during that time took place throughout Edinburgh. To participate in the festival a university or college must be invited by a selection committee. Rockford University is one of eight U.S. colleges that received an invitation. Among those colleges, only four are small schools. Students not only performed during the trip, but were able to view a variety of art. Sophomore Owen Thomas shared before leaving he was excited to experience something unique, “I’m really excited about experiencing something completely different and completely new and to see myriad types of art, such as puppetry, bagpipes, circus, comedy, drama. Just a variety of things we don’t always get the chance to see.” The chance to serve as ambassadors for Rockford, to network and gain experience is also an important part of the trip.

Students and faculty practice for the Edinburgh Festival Fringe.


Senior Courtney Foschi said, “As an actor, I think it’s going to be a really great experience to learn about different cultures and different theatrical techniques. As a person, I think it’s important to experience all walks of life, from all sorts of places, and to just learn everything I can while I’m there and bring a brand new experience to the work I do here.”

Students performed Kander and Ebb’s “2 By 5,” a dark and classy sung-through revue of songs from one of Broadway’s most prolific and celebrated composing teams of the late 20th century. The revue, hailed as stylish and fresh, includes songs from such smash hits as “Chicago” and “Cabaret” as well as some of the duo’s lesser-known but no less-loved work. Money and sex, love and loneliness, gritty yet fragile, with a wink for the man at the bar, the world of Kander and Ebb comes to life with edgy new stage direction and choreography for the Fringe. The new performance was previewed throughout the summer at several fundraisers to help offset the $80,000 cost of the trip. RU’s Student Opportunity Fund committed $47,500 to help defray expenses of the trip. Students also set up a page with additional information about their trip and to solicit donations. Students and faculty attending the Edinburgh Festival Fringe: Taylor Barnes – Venutra, Calif. Elisha Beston - Singapore Mary Bridgeland – Freeport, Ill. Addison Clearwood – Madison, Wis. Sarah Cleeland – St. Louis, Mo. Courtney Foschi – Frankfort, Ill. Janelle Good – East Highland, Calif. Samantha Hodson – Flower Mound, Texas Maya Hopkins – Rockford, Ill. Kyle McCaffrey – Niles, Ill. Brandon Michaud – Saint Peters, Mo. Tien Misler – Winterport, Maine Ilea Pearce – Rockford, Ill. Joi Pierre – Houston, Texas Zachary Pletcher – Highland Village, Texas Kyle Rainey – The Colony, Texas Alex Smith – Rockford, Ill. Owen Thomas – Portsmouth, N.H. Emily Todt – Jackson, Mo. Sarah Vallacchi – Shreveport, La. Ana Weickert – Rockford, Ill. Deborah Mogford - Performing Arts Department Chair and Professor of Performing Arts Amy Wright – Assistant Professor of Dance Timm Adams – Associate Professor of Music

In memory of Gary Lubbert 1963–2016 The Rockford University family said goodbye to Associate Professor of Economics, Business, and Accounting Gary Lubbert who passed away on May 16, 2016, after a year-long battle with cancer. We are at a loss of words to adequately describe how beloved Gary was as a colleague, professor, mentor and friend. His enthusiasm and love for Rockford University was infectious. Each and every day of every one of his 20 years with us, Gary truly made it a “Great day to be a Regent!” Long-time department colleague and friend, Professor Bob Evans shared the following touching sentiments during Gary’s memorial service and has graciously provided them to be shared here.

Winston Churchill once remarked that meeting Franklin Roosevelt for the first time was like sipping your first glass of champagne.

Bears – the “Teddy Bears” – as he sneeringly called them. You have got to admire a person with the courage of his convictions.

That historical anecdote is relevant on this occasion for two reasons. First, it captures the feeling one had every time on encountering Gary. Second, it prompts us all to remember that we must not be sad today. Can you imagine Gary Lubbert wanting to be the cause of sadness for anyone? No, of course you can’t. Gary would probably prefer that we do this thing the way they do in New Orleans. So we must try to remember Gary and be happy at the same time.

We will each remember the nickname that Gary had for us. They were imaginative, charming nicknames. Now I believe that I held the honor of the most defamatory nickname, but Gary was such a nice guy that he never told anyone what its origin was.

First we will remember the professional Gary. Now, of course, Gary was an excellent instructor. Just ask his students. They will remember always that bone-chilling phrase he uttered so cheerfully, “Now we’re going to have a little display of knowledge.” Gary was almost a perfect advisor. Just ask his advisees. He was a perfect colleague. Just ask his colleagues, all of whom were friends. It was difficult to know just how old Gary was. That observation is relevant because he appeared to be young enough to avoid being written off as an old codger. Yet he was seasoned enough and respected enough that younger colleagues often sought him out as a mentor. But it is the personal Gary that we will really remember. He was a true sports fan. He loved almost all sports, some of them fanatically. But he was a principled, courageous sports fan, as he demonstrated regularly by loudly and publicly denouncing the Chicago

We will remember the pungent, often wildly obscene “Southernisms,” as we used to call them. You know: “I am so hungry I could …” or “It’s colder than a …” or “It’s hotter than a …” Obviously, we cannot finish any of those sentences in polite company, but Gary reveled in the effect they often had on people. When quizzed on the origin of these shockers, Gary would humbly credit a certain sibling whom he considered to be his muse, his inspiration. We will remember Riceville, Iowa, as if we had actually visited “God’s country,” as he used to call it. Gary was proof that you can take the boy out of Iowa, but you can’t take Iowa out of the boy. And, finally, we will remember also a certain phrase – you know the phrase. Gary had a little trouble with the accent because he wasn’t from the deep South. Join me: “Roll tide.” May God bless you, Gary. 9

Elect Her workshop stresses elected leadership for women The Jane Addams Center for Civic Engagement in collaboration with the American Association of University Women (AAUW) and Running Start hosted the Elect Her Workshop on Sat. April 2. Elect Her is the only program in the country that encourages and trains college women to run for student government and future political office. The workshop addressed the need to expand the pipeline of women candidates and to diminish the longstanding political leadership gender gap. This one-day training provided attendees the opportunity to practice hands-on campaign skills, hear from inspiring elected speakers, and discuss topics such as What’s Your Issue, Building a Campaign Network, and Creating Your Elevator Speech. Over lunch, attendees had the opportunity to network with other students, local community members, and RU faculty and staff. RU was one of 50 colleges and universities selected and one of 13 new institutions to host Elect Her. A planning committee was formed to include Donnette Tinsley, Director of the Jane Addams Center for Civic Engagement; Faye Marcus, member of the local AAUW branch; Samantha Diemer, Junior Class Senator at RU; and Kristine Zimmerman, AmeriCorps VISTA. 50 students from six area institutions representing Beloit College, Highland Community College, Northern Illinois University, Rock Valley Community College, Rockford University, University of Illinois at Chicago, and Auburn High School were in attendance. Members of state and local AAUW branches attended and volunteered throughout the day. Melissa Richmond, Vice President of Running Start, was the Elect Her facilitator. The Running Start Program is about bringing young women to politics through education and skills they need to be leaders. They give women the running start they need to achieve greater political power! Melissa’s love of politics and confidence that she could run and win came from political training and leadership opportunities growing up and also from working with Governor Mitt Romney in a variety of capacities over the years, starting at the age of sixteen. Melissa’s enthusiasm and love for what she does was evident in her role as facilitator. Check out the Jane Addams Center Facebook page to see photos from the Elect Her Workshop and the video from WREX.

d Y O U!


RU hosted its second Day of Giving on campus and online on April 27, 2016. Tagged as #WeAreReady, alumni, faculty, staff, friends and students joined together for one 24-hour period to support scholarship assistance through the Charter Fund. The day resulted in more than $13,300 donated from 118 donors, 36 of whom gave their first gift on this day. Both donation totals and number of givers increased from 2015.



We are

We were ready: Day of Giving 2016

d, we n

The trend toward online giving events has not slowed and remains an excellent way to mobilize alumni and students. While the excitement unfolded online, a presence on campus to engage students and increase their awareness of the role that philanthropy plays in their education was also taking place. This year, on-campus efforts included a video booth in which students could craft a time capsule message to themselves – this engaged students in a fun way and asked them to think about what it will mean to be an alumna/us of Rockford University 10 years from now. The goal is to be able to share these videos at students’ 10-year reunions and celebrate as a “look back” in time.

Another new addition to #WeAreReady was the infusion of live feed into the University’s social media plan for the day. A behind-the-scenes tour of the new multipurpose gym in Seaver, a sit-down with Head Football Coach Jim Schroeder and two players from the original team, and a sneak peek at a rehearsal of the Vocal Collective in the dance studio were all broadcast live on Facebook. 2017’s Day of Giving is already on the books. Mark your calendar for April 29, 2017! Also stay tuned for RU’s first venture into #GivingTuesday in November 2016. We have lots of exciting things planned!


P hysics labs – A journey! Assoc. Prof. of Physics Deepshikha Shukla, Ph.D., provides updates to recent laboratory renovations. Technology has become ubiquitous in our everyday life – babies often master touchscreens before they learn to hold a pencil or even talk. So, it should not come as a surprise that the manner in which Physics experiments are performed today and taught to students relies heavily on modern technology. Real-time data acquisition, simultaneous analysis, and the ability to manipulate experiments through software has become the norm. Being trained in the late 1990s and the 2000s I was fortunate enough to see the transition from manual to technology-driven experiments in Physics instruction. Keep in mind that we have advanced to an age where any layperson can learn some basic Physics principles with as little as just the sensors on their mobile phones. My journey to modernize the Physics instructional laboratories started when I interviewed at RU. While I was excited that there was significant effort in updating the introductory laboratories with acquiring some new lab equipment and four dedicated computers, I was equally amazed that some of the equipment predated me. My amazement transformed into childlike excitement when I actually started work in the three lab spaces. Some of the equipment not only predated me, but predated one of the most exciting papers by Einstein on Relativity (1905). That’s right, some of our equipment came straight from the late 1800s. I had to research some of the equipment simply because I did not recognize them for what they were! For instance, we have two refracting telescopes from the late 1800s, (probably) one of the first audio oscillators made by Hewlett Packard from mid-1900 and electrical equipment from late 1800s and early 1900s; the list is long! Hence started my two-semester exploration – to evaluate and catalog all the Physics equipment RU possessed, to evaluate the current needs and to make sure that we acquire equipment and computers to give our students a 21st century experience in Physics. Department Chair Dr. Mehmet Dik, Dean Dr. Deborah Breiter, Provost Dr. Belinda Wholeben and the Office of Advancement all helped to make sure that the academic needs of the Physics program were conveyed to the right audience. Generous donors and well-wishers took care that there was funding to ensure that the transition to contemporary physics instruction was effected.

New equipment has modernized the Physics laboratories, allowing students to have a 21st century experience in Physics at RU.

The needs for modernization always exist. If you would like to help us continue this work with a contribution, please contact Bern Sundstedt at or 815.226.3371.

We were able to acquire equipment for effective instruction in the Physics lab during the spring semester of 2016. 12 new computers and a printer for the Physics lab were acquired and installed in April 2016. With computers and most equipment in place, the introductory Physics lab has morphed into its 21st century incarnation, ready to train students for the modern workforce. The Physics program celebrated its grand reopening on April 15, 2016. RU can now proudly say that the Introductory Physics labs are on par with the best of colleges and universities. At the same time, RU can be proud that it has preserved some very interesting equipment from more than a century ago.


RU freshman Grant Anliker (right), assists with building a working game controller for the classic game PACMAN with playdoh. The process included learning about electrical conductivity of various everyday objects and how electric circuits work.

Encouraging STEM & Savvy Skills The first Rockford University STEM and Savvy Skills workshop was held on Saturday, April 23 in the Starr Science building. The workshops were free to attend and were directed at middle and high-school students (grades 6–12) from the Washington Park Community Center (WPCC). The goal was simply to offer students a fun and interesting opportunity to experience the wonderful world of science and to provide a positive experience that encourages them to think about furthering their education. About 60 percent of the participants were girls. Students were welcomed by Provost Belinda Wholeben, Ed.D., and then quickly got to work with several hands-on STEM and critical thinking sessions.


Web pages that rock covered the fundamentals of creating a web page with features like fancy text, video, images and sound. Chemistry in the kitchen. Making delicious food is easier when you’re a chemist! Students used intermolecular forces to make ice cream in a plastic bag and found out about the acids hiding in kitchen pantries. “Everything’s an Argument” showed how argument is a part of our everyday experiences and central to future career success – and is seen in the ads that bombard us every day, postings on Facebook and the papers and speeches written for classes. The session also included discussing messages in advertising and taking a close look at strategies that can be used to build successful arguments.

Rotations and Symmetry: Make a Kaleidoscope. A traditional kaleidoscope uses mirrors to create reflected images, but in this workshop, students made their own “kaleidoscope” by rotating a picture and then animating the result using Geometer’s Sketchpad – a dynamic geometry software for exploring mathematics. Animate with SCRATCH! Using SCRATCH software, students were able to learn how to make animations and then use those creations as part of the workshop on circuits and microcontrollers.

Circuits Galore! This workshop allowed participants to hook up wires and elements, create their own design, make a circuit, and then make it work! The workshops were facilitated by Drs. William Doria and Gidget Tay (Chemistry); Dr. Filiz Dik (Kaleidoscope); Mr. Charles Nelson (Web Pages); Dr. Mary Weaks-Baxter (Arguments); Mr. Ben Xu, an ESL student at RU (SCRATCH), and Dr. Deepshikha Shukla (Circuits).

11th Annual NIATM Math Competition held at RU The 11th Annual NIATM Math Competition for area high schools was held on January 14, 2016, in the Starr Science building at Rockford University. NIATM (Northern Illinois Association of Teachers of Mathematics) is an affiliate of the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics. The competition included individual tests, team tests and candy bar exam. While individual tests were given in Algebra 1, Geometry, Algebra 2, and PreCalculus, team tests were in three categories: freshmen/sophomore eight person, junior/senior eight person, and calculator teams. More than 300 competitors participated in the event from 11 high schools: Belvidere, Belvidere North, Boylan, Byron, Harlem, Hononegah, Rochelle, Stillman Valley, Winnebago, Woodstock, and Woodstock North. An awards ceremony was held right after the competition with a welcome from Dr. Deborah Breiter, Dean of the College of Science, Math and Nursing (SMN). Many volunteers including SMN faculty, staff, students, Math Club, scheduling and security offices, as well as off campus volunteers, were instrumental in making the competition a success. The event each year encourages math excellence and fosters friendly competition among teams preparing for the ICTM (Illinois Council of Teachers of Mathematics) Regional Competition. This was the second year RU hosted the competition. The 10th and 11th NIATM Math competitions were organized by Dr. Filiz Dik. Dr. Dik is the Program Chair and Associate Professor of Mathematics. She advises Math Club and serves as Director 13+ on the NIATM Board.


(l–r) Brett Sean Connell ’14 MBA, Sherry Ruud, Sarah Connell, Michelle Podkowa, Carrie Burden ’97, and Aaron Potter ’98/’09.

Gala 2015 benefits athletics On Saturday, February 20, 2016, Rockford University held its annual gala, “Let’s Get Physical.” Approximately 240 alumni and friends experienced a high-energy evening inside a transformed Seaver Gymnasium. From the dance floor at center court to the golf simulator in the multi-purpose gym, there was not a lack of activity at the event. Many guests embraced the “athletic chic” dress code. What is athletic chic, you ask? Guests were encouraged to trade in stilettos for tennis shoes, top hats for ball caps, and/or give a nod to their favorite sport or team. They did not disappoint! More than $43,000 in Gala proceeds will be used towards the $6 million construction of a new athletics and event center. With record student enrollment pushing our 50-year-old Seaver Gymnasium past maximum capacity, offering facilities, practice space for our sports teams and an intramural experience for our student body is of great importance. The new building will also house additional event spaces for our campus and community to enjoy. Trustee Patti ’87 and Kris Tumilowicz were the honorary co-chairs for the event. The match was a perfect fit as Patti stated, “Kris and I have always maintained active lifestyles. We view sports and physical fitness as fundamental to a productive life. The lessons learned from intercollegiate and intramural sports are not only hard to replicate, but on a university campus they provide for a lively culture of competition Patti Tumilowicz ’87 and Kristyn King ’89 are dressed in “athletic chic” for Gala 2016.


and development. We have been proud sponsors of the last two Galas, witnessing directly not only the hands-on fun that’s in store for everyone, but also the impact that our support has had on students and the future of the University. That’s why we are excited to be honorary co-chairs for this great night and why we are thrilled for the University’s commitment to constructing a new athletic and event center.” The night started with pre-game activities in the multi-purpose gym. Rockford University Golf Coach Lloyd McWilliams manned the golf simulator which could test one’s golfing ability. Austin Smith, a member of the RU baseball team, could measure how fast a baseball was thrown. A pop-a-shot basketball game was also set for those who needed more competition while grooving the sounds of DJ DAS. Re-imagined ball park food was available for guests as well as two signature drinks: Team Captain and the House of King. The House of King, named for Athletic $10,000 WORLD CUP SPONSOR Director Kristyn King, was the winner Thomas ’74 & Rosemary Muldowney of the night.


Game time and post-game were hit $5000 GRAND SLAM SPONSOR out of the park! Bern Sundstedt Sodexo Food Services ’77, Vice President for Institutional SwedishAmerican Health System Advancement, delighted the crowd with his medley of West Side $2500 STANLEY CUP SPONSOR Story favorites in explaining why Alpine Bank a new athletics and event center is Illinois Bank & Trust needed. “A gymnasium, we need a OSF HealthCare new gymnasium,” set to the tune Schmeling Construction Co. of “Maria,” stuck in one’s head for Sodexo Facilities hours. Guests savored the delectable courses while keeping an eye on the silent auction items as they were not far from the action. Once dinner was done, it was time to sweat off those calories on the dance floor. The disco ball that decorated the gym was put to good use. The fun continued until the buzzer at 11:00 p.m. when Seaver returned back to just a gymnasium. Thank you to all of our sponsors, guests, alumni, and volunteers whose support and contributions to the evening made the night a success. Student volunteers played a major role in the execution of the gala. More than 30 students gave their time to assist with coat check, valet, serving, activities, silent auction and raffle support. In addition to the generous gifts from those sponsors listed above, we would also like to thank Five Forks and Meridian for their in-kind donations.

$1500 AMERICA’S CUP SPONSOR Dental Dimensions – Dr. Kris Tumilowicz Forest City Gear Hinshaw & Culbertson, LLP Hyatt-Fennell Morrissey Family Businesses OrthoIllinois Jamie Cassel, Esq. – Reno & Zahm, LLP Dr. & Mrs. Robert L. Head Rural Oaks Plaza SupplyCore, Inc. WilliamsMcCarthy, LLP Woodward, Inc.

For more information about Gala 2017 – Relevé: A Rising Up – call 815.394.5111 or email


A little hardware is always nice Rockford University has been recognized by the American Advertising Federation of Northern Illinois with eight 2016 American Advertising (ADDY) Awards for advertising creative excellence. The AAF Northern Illinois is the ad industry trade association serving advertising creatives, public relations, marketing, and other communications industry professionals in and around Rockford, Illinois, and represents the Rockford Chapter of the American Advertising Federation (AAF). Headquartered in Washington, D.C., the AAF is the oldest advertising trade association representing over 50,000 professionals in the advertising industry in a national network of 200 ad clubs in communities across the country. The Advancement division submitted a collection of Rock Solid, Gala, and Capital Campaign collateral materials into this year’s competition. The collection of entries included seven submissions, and all seven were selected by the ADDY panel of judges to receive an ADDY. Gold ADDY for Rock Solid & Ready. The Campaign for Rockford University – Branded Content and Entertainment (Non-Broadcast): Rock Solid & Ready campaign video Gold ADDY for Rock Solid & Ready. The Campaign for Rockford University – Brochure Campaign: Rock Solid & Ready campaign brochures Gold ADDY for Rock Solid & Ready. The Campaign for Rockford University – Voiceover Talent (Audio): Rock Solid & Ready campaign video audio track Gold ADDY for Rock Solid – Direct Mail Campaign: Rock Solid undergraduate admission materials (viewbook plus corresponding envelope, campus life brochure, academic brochure) Silver ADDY for Gala 2015 Mad About Science – Special Event Campaign: Gala 2015 Mad About Science invitation and printed materials Bronze ADDY for Catalyst – Printed Newsletter Campaign: 3 most recent issues of Catalyst Bronze ADDY for Rock Solid – Television Advertising Campaign: second generation of TV spots produced this past fall In addition, RU won an eighth award in one of the “Best of” categories. Best of Print ADDY for Rock Solid & Ready. The Campaign for Rockford University – Brochure Campaign: Rock Solid & Ready campaign brochures Entries were judged based upon creativity, originality, and creative strategy. The ADDY Awards Competition, the advertising industry’s largest and most representative competition for creative excellence, is a three-tiered national competition conducted annually by the American Advertising Federation.


Associate Professor James Marshall and Professor Jules Gleicher.

faculty notes & student news Thomas McIntyre, Ph.D. (24 years), and Susan Porterfield, Ph.D. (27 years) retired and were both honored with Emeritus Associate Professor of Anthropology & Sociology and Emerita Professor of English, respectively, during the 2016 Commencement ceremony held on May 15, 2016.

“A Century of Higher Learning: the University and Its Histories” “Debating the Merits of the Economic Policies of the Presidential Candidates” “Jewish Music in Spite of Itself” Dr. Gleicher has provided Comments on Yoram Hazony, The Philosophy of Hebrew Scripture, in Perspectives on Political Science, v. 45, no. 3 (Summer 2016), pp. 177–180. The following faculty have received doctoral tuition awards from RU to support their doctoral education completion.

Professor of English Mary WeaksBaxter has been awarded the Andrew H. Sherratt Professorship endowed chair by the Board of Trustees. She has served for several years as the Hazel Koch Professor of English. This is a non-renewable appointment for a faculty member with a proven record of scholarly productivity, teaching excellence, and a record of academic leadership. Dr. Weaks-Baxter’s appointment continues through the 2018–2019 Academic Year. Professor of Political Science and Department Chair Jules Gleicher attended the University of Chicago Alumni Weekend on June 3–4, 2016, and participated in the following: “Software and Hardware Systems Research toward Practical Quantum Computing”

(Faculty pictured in the order listed below.)

Asst. Prof. of Accounting Brian Huels Asst. Prof. of Economics, Business and Accounting Stanley Klatka Asst. Prof. of Nursing Kimberly McCullough Asst. Prof. of Education Kimberlee Wagner (continued on next page)


faculty notes & student news continued Associate Professor of English Michael Perry, Ph.D., has been named Dean of the College of Arts & Humanities. Dr. Perry also serves as the NCAA Faculty Athletic Representative. Dr. Perry replaces Professor of History Dr. Catherine Forslund who has served as the college dean since July 2013 when the University moved to its new college structure that also coincided with the change from Rockford College to Rockford University. Dr. Forslund transitions to the new position as Dean of Academic Administration and will assist part-time in the Office of Academic Affairs effective July 1, 2016. Dr. Michael Perry is publishing the blog MICHALEAARONPERRY: Writing, Professing, and Blogging – An excerpt from one of Dr. Perry’s blog post was been recorded for WNIJ’s (NPR) Perspectives segment. Associate Professor of Economics, Business, and Accounting/Political Science and Department Chair Robert Evans and Emerita Professor of English Susan Porterfield also regularly contribute to the Perspectives program. Associate Professor of English William Gahan, Ph.D., has been named as Chair, Department of English. Members of RU’s Minority Male Mentoring Program served as volunteers at Gigi’s Playhouse on March 21 as part of World Down Syndrome Day. They had the pleasure of working with clients as well as helping with some outdoor work painting crates for the organization. The partnership was initiated by student Stephen Taylor who serves as the Minority Male Mentoring Program Student Coordinator. Other participating students included Daijon Davis, Charles Billingsley, Jared Johnson, and Stephen Taylor.


Two Rockford University faculty members have been honored with the 2016 Excellence in Teaching Award. The award is presented annually to a full-time professor and adjunct professor. Assistant Professor of Biology Sean Beckmann was the recipient of this year’s full-time award. Dr. Beckmann was also the recipient of this year’s Last Lecture honor. One nominator stated, “Professor Beckmann is truly a professor who opens the door for students to excel but at the same time does not hold their hands. His class was one of the best experiences I have had at Rockford University.” Other nominators noted that he consistently will go above and beyond to help students realize their full potentials, even when he doesn’t have time, he will make himself available to answer questions and to help students succeed. Adjunct Professor of Mathematics Tim Wagner was this year’s adjunct award recipient. Students say that Professor Wagner is always accessible by email and will respond in usually less than half a day. He is an effective and clear communicator who never speaks too quickly, and always has an appropriate joke to share in class. One student noted, “He went above and beyond every day by asking students how we were and by remembering what events we had going on in our lives. I’ve never had a professor so attentive to students’ personal interests and achievements outside of his own classroom.” Another student stated, “His class was so enjoyable, I was sorry to see it end.” Awarded each May, nominations for Excellence in Teaching Awards are submitted by faculty, staff, students and alumni. A five-member selection committee evaluates nominations and selects the winners. The criteria for both awards are knowledge of his/her discipline, respect for students, creative course development, advising, and campus leadership.

Assistant Professor of French Sharon Bartlett has added several interesting resources to the department web pages that illustrate how the Modern Languages faculty strive to use classroom time in authentic, inventive ways that reinforce language skills and allow students to apply them. Examples include how the French 102 and 204 classes participated in activities that improve reading comprehension and the integration of culture, vocabulary and grammar in creative ways. Read more about their work at academics/departments/languagereligion/resources/.

Electronic Resources Librarian & Archivist Joanna Bares ’13 traveled to San Gemini, Italy, in July to study paper restoration and conservation of books and archival documents. Dr. Deborah Breiter, Dean, College of Science, Math and Nursing and Bergmann Professor of Chemistry teamed up with alumna Kelsey (Lovgren) Zammuto ’11 and Rock Valley College Biology Professor Elizabeth Russo to coach the Guilford High School Varsity Science Olympiad team. Kelsey teaches chemistry at Guilford High School in Rockford. The team medaled in 13 out of 23 events at the regional competition held Saturday, March 12 at Rock Valley College.

The following faculty have been awarded tenure. (Faculty

pictured in the order listed below.)

Nola Addante, M.S.N., C.N.E., Asst. Prof. of Nursing Sean Beckmann, Ph.D., Asst. Prof. of Biology Brian Huels, M.S.T.,C.P.A., Asst. Prof. of Accounting Jason Hunter Ph.D., Asst. Prof. of Physical Education Kimberlee Wagner, M.A.T., Asst. Prof. of Education Provost Wholeben announced sabbaticals awarded to the following professors.

Above. Science Olympiad team – Kelsey Zammuto is on the far right side in the back row. Elizabeth Russo (biology prof from RVC) and Professor Breiter are in the back row far left side.

Associate Professor of Education Lynn Stafford – In the fall of 2016, Prof. Stafford will coach K–8 educators in an urban setting, aid a charter school in developing a support system for suspension, and publish an article on positive behavioral reports. Associate Professor of Languages, Literatures and Cultures and Department Chair John Burns – In the spring of 2017, Prof. Burns will be teaching at Kobe College, publish an article on the scholarship of teaching and learning, and continue work on literary translation projects.

Jane Addams Center for Civic Engagement Director Donnette Tinsley, Assistant Dean of Students and Director of Residence Life Beth Tinsley ’04 accompanied students Heather O’Connor, Vanessa Ostrander, Jecenia Saldana and Samantha Diemer to the National Conference for College Women Student Leaders held on June 1–4 at the University of Maryland, College Park.

Congratulations to Dr. Burns on the outstanding review by the journal, A contra corriente, of his book “Contemporary Hispanic Poets: Cultural Production in the Global, Digital Age.” This book is in the Cambria Latin American Literatures and Cultures series, headed by Professor Román de la Campa, the Edwin B. and Lenore R. Williams Professor of Romance Languages at the University of Pennsylvania. The book review notes that “John Burns’ study of Hispanic poetry from Chile, Mexico, and Spain employs a cultural studies approach in its analysis of recent poetic production in Spanish. It is innovative in its transatlantic scope, and is a valuable contribution to attempts to reconsider the role and status of the poet in globalized—and especially neoliberal— socioeconomic context.” 19

Athletic Hall of Fame welcomes new inductees Four new members were inducted into RU’s Hall of Fame on Saturday, April 30. The Class of 2016 includes Tom Clinton (Basketball), Phil Ludkowski (Soccer), Sarah Mosher (Volleyball) and the 2002–2003 Men’s Basketball Team. “It was an emotional and inspirational evening for all in attendance as those who were inducted shared stories about their time at Rockford as we celebrated the accomplishments of each of the members of the 2016 Hall of Fame Class,” Rockford University Director of Athletics Kristyn King ’89 stated. “The support of family and friends, a rock solid education at Rockford University, and the opportunity to participate in athletics were all reasons credited to the success of the inductees beyond their college years. It was a pleasure and an honor to visit with current Hall of Fame members as well as the new inductees throughout the evening. Their accomplishments and their personal and professional growth is a true tribute to the good work of the faculty, staff and coaches at Rockford University!” The Chuck DeWild Hall of Fame was established in 1980 and currently houses 53 members including the newest inductees. To see a complete list of all of those who have been enshrined, please visit Tom Clinton ’70/’76, Basketball 1966–1970 Tom Clinton participated in four sports while he was a student-athlete at Rockford. Clinton’s main sport was basketball, but he was also a member of the baseball, cross country, and track and field teams. From the fall of 1966 through the spring of 1970, Clinton was one of the main factors behind the continued improvement of the Rockford men’s basketball program. The Regents showed steady improvement each year, and during Clinton’s senior season Rockford won its first ever Northern Illinois Iowa Conference Championship. To this day, Clinton remains one of the best men’s basketball players in school history. Phil Ludkowski ’78, Soccer 1974–1977 Phil Ludkowski was a member of the Rockford University men’s soccer team from 1974–1977 and helped establish the program as one of the most dominant in school history. Ludkowski helped to ignite a string of eleven Northern Illinois Iowa Conference Championships over a span of thirteen years, beginning with his junior and senior seasons in 1976 and 1977. He was also a member off the 1976 team that earned a berth in the NAIA District #20 Playoffs for the first time since 1965. Ludkowski was a highly decorated collegiate athlete throughout his playing career at Rockford, earning multiple honors in each of his four years. Sarah Mosher ’04, Volleyball 2000–2003 Sarah Mosher enters the Chuck DeWild Hall of Fame as one of the most decorated female student-athletes in Rockford University history. Mosher currently holds five NCAA Division III records including three single-match records and two single-season records. She was dominant throughout her time at Rockford as she currently ranks in the top five for multiple career records in NCAA Division III history. In addition, Mosher has her name etched all over the Rockford University volleyball record book as she currently holds 21 school records. Mosher made a profound impact on the Rockford University volleyball program throughout her four years in a Regents uniform (2000–2003) and led Rockford to the two winningest seasons in the program’s history in 2002 and 2003. She also helped the Regents win their only two NIIC Championships and earn a berth to the NCAA Division III Playoffs for the first and only time in the program’s history.


In Memoriam

2002–2003 Men’s Basketball Team The 2002–2003 Regents men’s basketball team completed the winningest season in the program’s history with an overall record of 24–4 including a perfect 12–0 conference record. It was the first and only time the men’s basketball team has gone undefeated in conference play. The Regents stellar play all season long garnered them a first round bye along with hosting an NCAA Tournament game for the first time in the program’s 61-year history. Rockford finished the season ranked 25th in NCAA Division III and was ranked as high as 19th at one point during the year. Rockford’s immense amount of success as a team also translated to multiple individual accolades. Troy DeCook, Billy Lewis and Geoff Wing were each selected to the All-Northern Illinois Iowa Conference team. DeCook was also named all-region and the NIIC Player of the Year, while head coach Bill Lavery was named NIIC Coach of the Year for the second straight season. For more information about any of the 15 varsity sports sponsored by Rockford University, please visit

n o i t a n i g g Re The Pride Awakens

Oct. 7–8, 2016 • Reunion @ Homecoming

Please let us know you’re coming! 815.394.5111

Elizabeth Rhoades Lawton ’36, March 2, 2016 Ella Wade Fox ’37, June 8, 2016 Vivian Veach Hickey ’37, April 28, 2016 Catherine Byrne Myers-Phelps ’41, June 18, 2016 Mildred Lanz Para ’42, March 21, 2016 Betty Bochman Smith ’42, Dec. 30, 2015 Grace Meenen McMullen Geeding ’45, Nov. 12, 2015 Teru Nakata Kiyohara ’45, Nov. 20, 2015 Jeanne Olson Lundgren ’45/’72, Jan. 31, 2016 Jacquelyn Silcroft Forslund ’46, July 23, 2016 Janis Tremper Dowd ’47, March 22, 2016 Emily Chinn Brasch ’48, April 24, 2016 Ruby Scott Van Horn ’49, June 17, 2016 Janet Handel Campbell ’50, March 27, 2016 Sara Houser Hayworth ’50, Jan. 29, 2016 Marilyn Feigh Hoy ’50, May 8, 2016 Susan Dickerson Mosbacher ’50, Jan. 25, 2016 Mary Rayn Seitz ’50, April 17, 2016 Constance Theodore ’50, Dec. 25, 2015 Janet Williams Thompson ’50, Jan. 23, 2016 Janice Bergh Wilder ’50, Feb. 27, 2016 Jeanne Cowhill Johnson ’51, Jan. 18, 2016 Marilyn Borden Westman ’53 , June 14, 2016 Theresa Arbisi Ditzler ’54, Nov. 11, 2015 Patricia Palmer ’54, Dec. 24, 2015 Patricia Marsh Cronkhite ’58, Dec. 12, 2015 Shirley Johnson Deetz ’58, Jan. 3, 2016 Karl J. Canavesi Sr. ’59, June 29, 2016 Sam Maggio ’59, Jan. 7, 2016 John Joseph Gaffney ’62, June 1, 2016 Michael Lindstrom ’62, Dec. 1, 2015 Roger Johnson ’63, April 4, 2016 Nathan Moore ’63, June 28, 2016 Thomas Johnson ’64, Feb. 15, 2016 Aniela Sadauskas Warner ’64, March 9, 2016 Karen Sorenson Hayman ’65, Feb. 24, 2016 John Holub ’68, Jan. 31, 2016 Robert Charles McKinley ’71, June 9, 2016 Jeanne Michaelsen Lindvall ’73, Nov. 14, 2015 Mark R. Peterson ’73, July 21, 2016 Barbara Gregory Mahaffa ’74, Feb. 28, 2016 Mary Bauman George ’76, Dec. 8, 2015 Jerome Carter ’78, June 12, 2016 Charles Sawyer ’79, April 6, 2016 Patricia Carlyle Caronna ’80, June 6, 2016 June Stewart ’81, Feb. 24, 2016 John Anderson ’83, Jan. 14, 2016 Karen Tunney Suik ’91, Jan. 3, 2016 Melissa Moore Stevens ’98, July 3, 2016 Matthew Cacioppi ’14, Jan. 13, 2016


class notes Robert “Bob” Kisken ’62 has donated over 100 photos of buildings that were once bordellos to the Lincoln County Museum in North Platte, Neb. The photos were taken by Bob in Nebraska, South Dakota, Wyoming and Colorado. David “Dave” Rydell ’63, chairman of the Bergstrom Inc. Charitable Foundation, was named the Rockford, Ill., Chamber of Commerce’s 2016 Citizen of the Year. Recipients are chosen for their contributions to the progress and welfare of the community. Dave and his father, Elvin, established the foundation about 40 years ago. It provides money for nonprofits that help people in need, health systems, higher-learning institutions and civic groups. The foundation also sponsors the “Bergstrom Stateline Quiz Bowl,” in which 33 high schools compete in the northern Illinois region. Sue Schneider Runnerstrom ’65 and Ann Sullivan McGlone ’65 had a reunion of their own in Charleston, S.C. Neither Sue nor Ann could attend the celebration in October 2015 for the class of 1965’s 50th reunion. However, due to a trip that Ann and her husband, Jim, took to the Charleston/Savannah area, Ann was able to reconnect with Sue and her husband, Mike. The two picked up right where they left off over 30 years ago. Michael “Mike” Mastroianni ’74/’85 announced his retirement as president of Rock Valley College effective January 20, 2017. During his time at Rock Valley, Mike secured partnerships with Northern Illinois University, St. Anthony College of Nursing, and also expanded the college’s aviation maintenance program. Several RU alumni gathered in summer 2015 to celebrate the birthday of Juan Lepe ’88. Pictured: (back, l–r) Elizabeth Tourlentes Johnston ’88, Beth Lemon ’87, Iain D. Johnston ’87, John McCluskey ’88, Julio Del Real ’91, Juan Lepe ’88, Doug Dilman, Pete Glon (former RU coach), Larry Kast ’89, (front, l–r) Louis Matheus ’85, Carlos Cuiriz ’88, and Jose Pacheo. Debra Novy ’85 will be the new principal at Marian Central High School in Woodstock, Ill. Mark Adamany ’90 was hired to create a piece of artwork at a pretty unusual place, the 2015 Rockford Business Expo held at Giovanni’s in September. The work is on display at the Rockford Public Library on the third floor and will eventually be touring the city so that many people can see it. Wester Wuori ’92 joined Chartwell Agency in Rockford as Vice President in October 2015. Chartwell is an integrated communications agency serving a wide variety of clients and industries. Wester previously served as Director of Marketing & Public Relations at Rockford Health System for


more than 15 years. He holds a B.A. in English from Rockford University and an M.A. in Communication from Northern Illinois University. Michele Lind ’96 has been promoted to vice president, wealth advisor & investment officer. She has been with Alpine Trust & Investment Group since 2009 and has spent more than two decades in the financial planning and investment industry. She graduated from Rockford University with a B.S. in Economics/Finance. Michele attained her Certified Financial Planner (CFP®) designation in 2005 and earned her Social Security Claiming Strategies (CSSCS) designation in 2015. She volunteers her time on the Finance Committee for Womanspace of Rockford. Scott Dimke ’97/’12 has been name assistant vice principal at Lincoln Middle School, Rockford, Ill. Scott will start the role in the 2016–2017 school year. Brian Zimmerman ’99 MAT was named Hononegah High School’s head football coach. Brian was the interim coach during the 2015–2016 season. He has taught at the high school, located in Rockton, Ill., since 1994 and is currently the science department coordinator. David Bogner ’00 will serve as vice president and trust officer at Stillman Bank, Rockford, Ill. office. He will lead the bank’s trust and asset management department. Kristina Strohfeldt Whitmore ’01 BSN, RN, was this year’s winner of the Transformational Leadership Nurse of the Year Award at Centregra Health Systems, McHenry County, Ill. As the Assistant Director of Nursing at the Centegra Hip & Knee Replacement Center and Rehabilitation Unit, Kristina is a shining example of leadership within the organization. She promotes nursing and elevates her team while expecting the best from every colleague. Kristi Harreld ’01 was featured in an article for the Chicago Reader, November 26, 2015. The article follows her years as a tutor and the wonderful stories, and excuses, heard over her 10 years in this profession. Robin Keene ’02 was selected to be an official at the IHSA Girls State Volleyball Tournament in Bloomington, Ill. Robin has been officiating high school for 14 years. She is also employed by the Oregon School District. Randy Baker ’03 MBA has expanded his restaurant business to include a multi-concept food truck to be named, “The Commissary.” The truck will travel to special events and be available for weddings and small businesses in Rockford, Ill. Laura Wanke ’03/’09 was one of five Golden Apple award recipients in Winnebago and Boone counties in Illinois. The Golden Apple Foundation is a volunteer-driven organization that celebrates, inspires and supports educational excellence in the community.

Eric Turnrose ’04 received the FY16 Q3 Every Day Heroes Award from Dell. Eric was chosen out of thousands of global employees for this recognition. Dell’s Everyday Heroes Program is designed to foster a customer-first culture and create more Customer Experience advocates by acknowledging Services team members of all levels, but especially those who make individual contributions that regularly delight their customers as part of their standard day-to-day interactions and exhibit any of the three identified customer-centric behaviors: Ownership, Collaboration and Resolution. Erin Mahoney ’05 was awarded Loyola’s Nurse of the Year award. She is an advanced practice nurse with their lung transplant team. Beth Limones ’08 MAT was one of five Golden Apple award recipients in Winnebago and Boone counties in Illinois. The Golden Apple Foundation is a volunteer-driven organization that celebrates, inspires and supports educational excellence in the community. Thomas O’Brien ’08 MAT was one of five Golden Apple award recipients in Winnebago and Boone counties in Illinois. The Golden Apple Foundation is a volunteer-driven organization that celebrates, inspires and supports educational excellence in the community. Sarah Parker-Scanlon ’11 MAT was named Executive Director of Shelter Care Ministries, Rockford, Ill. Sarah has served as interim executive director since mid-2015 and worked for the agency for more than 10 years as programs director and case manager. Kyle Saunders ’11 was named as the City of Rockford (Ill.) Water Superintendent. Kyle was recently presented with the 2016 Illinois Section of the American Water Works Association Young Professional Excellence Award for his contributions as chair of the young professionals committee. Kipton Bucey ’12/’14 and wife Kayla proudly welcomed their daughter, Matsey June, on December 16, 2015. Samuel Randall ’12 is currently in his third year of medical school at Wayne State University School of Medicine, in Detroit, Mich. In Summer 2015, Samuel interned at the Wayne County Department of Public Health in Michigan, and also was on exchange at the University of Minho, School of Medicine in Braga, Portugal. He studied tuberculosis treatment domestically, and then pathophysiology and the connection between type 2 diabetes mellitus and tuberculosis infection in Portugal. After graduation he is interested in pursuing infectious disease and public health in residency. (The photo above was taken in late July at the Lisbon Oceanarium, Lisbon, Portugal.) Megan Brechon Lutmer ’13 has been named the new Executive Director of Children’s Safe Harbor, Rockford, Ill. Children’s Safe Harbor is an organization that provides a safe place for families to use when exchanging children for visitation or for those who are in need of supervised visitation services.

Jaime Salgado ’13 MBA won the democratic primary for the Winnebago County (Ill.) Board District 12. Katie Kuehner ’14 brought Belle to life (May 6, 7, 8, 2016) in Disney’s “Beauty and the Beast” at the Lerner Theatre in Elkhart, Ind. Premier Arts is known for their lavish productions and this was no exception. Katie will be appearing as Mary Poppins at the end of July with the South Bend Civic Theater, South Bend, Ind. Susan “Susie” Matthews ’15 played Alonsa and was assistant director for “The Tempest,” a Shakespearean fantasy. The performance was held at Gateway Performing Arts Studio, Rockford, Ill., April 1–3, 2016. Doug Janicke’s (’15) poem, “Absence of All Color,” has been published in the Academy of American Poets annual publication. The poem won first place for the 2015 Colleen Holmbeck Poetry Prize at Rockford University, and this is what caught the selection committee’s eye. Not all winners are published. According to the Academy of American Poets website, the Academy of American Poets sponsors over two hundred annual poetry prizes at colleges and universities across the U.S, and has awarded cash prizes to nearly ten thousand student poets since the program’s inception. The recognition that winning student poets receive provides important validation. Ian Jan Connor Brumbaugh ’16 announced his post-graduate employment with Emmy® Award-winning NYC casting company, RWS and Associates. RWS is a full-service, worldwide production company that provides custom designed, as well as prepackaged events, and live shows for corporations, theme parks, cruise ships, resorts, shopping centers and the fashion industry. As North America’s largest provider of branded stage shows and experiences, clientele includes Holland American Cruises, Vera Wang, Jennifer Lopez and more.

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2016–2017 Performing Arts Season For tickets or information, please call the RU Box Office at 815.226.4100 or visit Dates and locations subject to change. “Picnic” Oct. 6–9, 2016, Maddox Theatre, Clark Arts Center Considered William Inge’s masterpiece, Picnic won the 1953 Pulitzer Prize for Drama. Third Annual Rockford City Dance Festival Oct. 14–15, 2016, Maddox Theatre, Clark Arts Center Rockford University students as well as guest dance companies perform selected sets. “Nunsense” (musical) Nov. 18–20 2016, Cheek Theatre, Clark Arts Center The Little Sisters of Hoboken are raising money to bury their sisters accidentally poisoned by the convent cook, Sister Julia (Child of God). “Forever Plaid” (musical) Nov. 17, 19–20, 2016, Cheek Theatre, Clark Arts Center The “Plaids” are a guaranteed smash that keeps audiences rolling in the aisles when they’re not humming along to some of the great nostalgic pop hits of the 1950s. RU Orchesis Dance Company in Concert Jan. 26–28, 2017, Maddox Theatre, Clark Arts Center To Be Announced (musical theatre) Feb. 23–26, 2017, Maddox Theatre, Clark Arts Center “A Flea in Her Ear” (farse) Apr. 27–30, 2017, Maddox Theatre, Clark Arts Center A hysterical cocktail of chaos that could only have been devised by the master of comic stagecraft, Feydeau.


2016 Fall Forum Series

Forum series events can be found at The first two events for the fall semester are as follows: President’s Opening Convocation Fri., Aug. 26, 12:00 p.m., Maddox Theatre, Clark Arts Center The 2016–2017 Rockford University academic year begins with a traditional convocation and remarks by President Eric W. Fulcomer, Ph.D. The formal opening convocation event has been held annually since 1851. The event includes a faculty procession in full academic regalia. Rock Solid Success Seminar – Payton Family Foundation Thur. Sept. 8, 7:00 p.m., Maddox Theatre, Clark Arts Center The Office of Student Success and Retention presents the annual Rock Solid Success Seminar with the family of NFL Pro Football Hall of Fame member Walter Payton. Connie and Jarrett Payton will be speaking about how vision, intense determination and his “Never Die Easy” motto allowed Walter Payton to gain professional and personal success. The Rock Solid Success Seminar is designed to provide motivation and encouragement to all students as they pursue graduation from RU.

17-0073 Catalyst 1-FY17

Catalyst - Summer 2016  

Summer 2016 issue of Catalyst magazine featuring the retirement of Dr. Robert L. Head, announcement of Dr. Eric Fulcomer as RU's 18th presid...

Catalyst - Summer 2016  

Summer 2016 issue of Catalyst magazine featuring the retirement of Dr. Robert L. Head, announcement of Dr. Eric Fulcomer as RU's 18th presid...