Rockford University (Formerly Rockford College) is a private American liberal arts college in Rockford, Illinois. It was founded in 1847 as Rockford Female Seminary and changed its name to Rockford College in 1892, and to Rockford University in 2013. The university is known as the alma mater of Nobel Peace Prize winner Jane Addams, who was a member of the class of 1881.
Rockford University was founded in 1847 as Rockford Female Seminary. It was the sister college of Beloit College, which had been founded the year before. The seminary's initial campus was on the east side of the Rock River, south of downtown Rockford. In 1890, the seminary's trustees voted to offer a full college curriculum, which led to the name changing to Rockford College in 1892. Men were first granted admission to the university at the beginning of the 1955-56 school year. At about this time, the school requested that the City of Rockford close parts of a street adjoining the campus.
In January, 2008, Dr. Robert Head was named the university's seventeenth president effective July 2008. On October 2, 2012, the board of trustees voted unanimously to take on university status. This was done to accurately reflect the fact that they have many different academic departments. On July 1, 2013, the institution officially became Rockford University.
In addition to its undergraduate programs, the college offers pre-professional programs in pre-law, pre-medicine and related areas, and two graduate programs: Master of Arts in Teaching and Master of Business Administration.
Journalist Chris Hedges was an early and vocal critic of the Iraq War. He questioned the rationale for war by the Bush administration and was critical of the early press coverage, calling it "shameful cheerleading". In May 2003, Hedges delivered a commencement address at Rockford University in Rockford, Illinois, saying:
"We are embarking on an occupation that, if history is any guide, will be as damaging to our souls as it will be to our prestige and power and security."
Several hundred members of the audience booed and jeered his talk, although some applauded. Hedges' microphone was cut twice and two students on the stage approached the podium to try to prevent him from speaking further. Hedges had to cut short his address and was escorted off campus by security officials before the ceremony was over. An editorial in The Wall Street Journal denounced Hedges for his anti-war stance on May 24. His employer, The New York Times, criticized his statements and issued him a formal reprimand for "public remarks that could undermine public trust in the paper's impartiality." Shortly after the incident, Hedges left The New York Times.
The Rockford University Regents are Division III members of the National Collegiate Athletic Association. Teams compete independently or as members of the Northern Athletics Collegiate Conference.
The university fields men's teams in Baseball, Basketball, Cross Country, Football, Golf, Soccer, Tennis, and Track and Field, and women's teams in Basketball, Cross Country, Soccer, Softball, Tennis, Track and Field, and Volleyball.
Recreational and intramural club sports (including basketball and dodgeball) are also available on campus. The on-campus Seaver Gymnasium will also be home in 2008 to the Rockford Fury of the Premier Basketball League.
Rockford University is also the home of Phantom Regiment, a world-class DCI corps.
Board of trustees
The trustees set general policy for the university. R.Ray Wood: Chair of the Board of Trustees. David Rydell: Vice Chair of the Board. Jane Thomas: Secretary of the Board.
Charles Box. Michael Broski. Charles Colman. Robert Evans. Dawn Hallsten. Robert Head (Dr. Head also serves as Rockford University President). Helen Hill. Charles Howard. Terry Ingrassia. Dennis Johnson. Susan Whealler Johnston. Marci Jumisko. James Keeling. James Peterson. Peter Provenzano. Sunil Puri. Richard Schilling, Sr. Louise Sinclaire. Barbara Tanaglia.Frank Walter. James Whitehead. Jonathan Whitlock.