Join us for an experience that promises to be both educational and spiritual.
The 18th Annual Southern Virginia University Education Conference will feature two days of instructive and inspiring presentations. The annual conference has a rich tradition of hosting highly qualified, influential speakers from across the country to present on a variety of topics related to the theme.
The conference, which is organized and hosted by a committee chaired by Kathleen Knight, will also feature the musical “Dear World” performed by Southern Virginia’s theatre program and a concert. We invite you to join with other conference attendees and gather to the historic Shenandoah Valley this summer for spiritual, cultural and educational enrichment.
Elder Spencer J. Condie is an emeritus general authority of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. He served in the Second Quorum of the Seventy of the Church from 1989 to 1992. He then served in the First Quorum of the Seventy until October 2010. For the next three years, he served as president of the Nauvoo Illinois Temple.
Professionally, he worked at Brigham Young University as a professor of both sociology and ancient scripture for more than 15 years.
He received a bachelor’s degree from BYU, a master’s degree from the University of Utah, and a doctorate from the University of Pittsburgh.
In addition to his service as a general authority, Elder Condie has also served as president of the Austria Vienna Mission, regional representative of the Twelve, counselor in the Young Men General Presidency, stake president and bishop. He is also the author of a biography titled “Russell M. Nelson: Father, Surgeon, Apostle.”
Lee Donaldson is manager of proselyting services in the Missionary Department of the Church and bishop of a YSA ward in Provo, Utah. He has previously served as president of the California San Diego Mission and as Global Director of Leadership Development for the Church.
Professionally, Donaldson spent 26 years as a teacher and administrator in the Church Educational System. He has also consulted and trained many leaders of Fortune 500 companies and authored a book on communication and learning titled, “Pushing up the Sky.” Additionally, he has written articles in the Ensign and Church News and is a contributing editor of the “Book of Mormon for Latter-day Saint Families.” He and his wife have five children and thirteen grandchildren.
Bruce L. Olsen is the former managing director of public affairs for the Church. He oversaw the LDS Public Affairs Department for nearly 20 years, directing worldwide offices in eleven countries and domestic offices in Washington, D.C., New York and Los Angeles. He was responsible for government affairs, community relations, and interfaith and media relations programs.
He also worked at Brigham Young University in a variety of positions, including assistant to the president for university relations, and as an associate professor in the department of communications. He received both a bachelor’s and a master’s degree from BYU, and served as president of its 370,000-member alumni association.
Olsen has previously served as president of the San Diego Temple and as president of the Massachusetts Boston Mission. He has served the Church in numerous positions including high councilor, bishop, stake president and member of the Young Men General Board.
He and his wife, Christine, have five children and 15 grandchildren.
Dr. Barbara van Kuiken is a professor of chemistry at Southern Virginia University. In 2012, she received the Michael and Kay Elton Lectureship for Outstanding Teaching and Scholarship.
During her time at Southern Virginia — where she has served on the faculty since 2000 — she has participated in numerous Remote Area Medical trips, providing free medical care to individuals in need throughout the world as well as in the local community.
Van Kuiken received both a bachelor’s degree and a master’s degree in chemistry from Brigham Young University. She then earned a doctorate in molecular biology, biochemistry and microbiology from the University of Cincinnati College of Medicine. She completed post-doctoral training with Dr. Kenneth Johnson at Pennsylvania State University.
She has written manuscripts and articles that have been published in academic biochemical journals and presented at various national and international scientific conferences.
Rod L. Meldrum is an author and lecturer who has written books and presented extensively on the historicity of The Book of Mormon.
He previously served as president and CEO of High Country Gourmet in Orem, Utah. He has also served as director of business development for Interact Medical, a learning management system developer for surgeons and patients in the medical device industry.
Meldrum founded The Foundation for Indigenous Research and Mormonism, which has more than 200 members on 10 boards, and more than 25,000 subscribers to its newsletters. The foundation sponsors two international Book of Mormon evidence conferences each year, as well as multiple regional conferences.
His most recent book, published in 2012, is titled “Exploring the Book of Mormon in America’s Heartland.” He and his wife, Tonya, have four children.
Dr. Tyson Anderson is the owner of Anderson Family Dentistry. He is also an adjunct faculty member at Virginia Commonwealth University. He received a bachelor’s degree in Italian from Brigham Young University and a degree in general dentistry from the VCU School of Medicine. He served a full-time mission to Milan, Italy, for the Church.
Brittany Anderson is a stay-at-home mom and co-director of the Young Midlothian Singers, a community children’s choir. She received a bachelor’s degree in elementary education from Brigham Young University and taught school for several years in both Utah and Virginia.
Tyson and Brittany Anderson live in Midlothian, Va., with their four children.
Linda Schneider will present a display of clothing and textile creations. The display will include quilts, costumes, wedding and evening gowns, and other sewn, tatted, knitted and crocheted items by Schneider, as well as Gayle Cason and Wanda Harris.
Based on Jean Giraudoux’s famous play “The Madwoman of Chaillot,” the musical “Dear World,” with beautiful music and satirical lyrics by Jerry Herman (“Hello Dolly”), is a fantastic fable set in Paris just after World War II.
Countess Aurelia is a delusional old lady who lives beneath a Paris café living the life of a by-gone era and demising life as it really is. Evil is represented by three corporate industrialists, who discover that there’s oil beneath the café. They conspire to level most of Paris, drill the oil, and make themselves richer than they already are. Aurelia learns of the plot from their conscience-wracked intern Julian and decides it’s up to her to thwart it. She concocts a plan to rid the world of evil with the aid of her two fellow madwomen, Constance and Gabrielle, and the Sewerman, who knows more about the Parisian underground than any man alive. Others who help are Nina, the cafe waitress who falls in love with Julian, a Mute who sells flowers at the café, the Headwaiter, the local Sergeant, and various other Parisian types who want to live simple, happy lives. By the end of the play, Aurelia is revealed not as a delusional old fool who won’t face reality, but as an idealist who truly believes and convinces the audience that one person can actually change the world.
Music and lyrics by Jerry Herman
Book by Jerome Lawrence and Robert E. Lee
New version by David Thompson
Directed by Robbert Stoddard