Madeleine Gail Rex · June 5, 2015
Southern Virginia University will host its 19th annual Education Conference on Friday and Saturday, June 12-13. This year’s conference will focus on the theme, “A House Unto His Name.”
The weekend will feature keynote speaker Elder William R. Walker, an emeritus member of the First Quorum of the Seventy and former executive director of the Temple Department of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, in addition to a number of other guest speakers. Entertainment will include a musical performance by the Grammy-nominated violinist Jenny Oaks Baker and her children, a choral performance and a performance of the university’s production of the musical, “Bells Are Ringing.”
Kathleen Knight, who received an honorary doctorate from the university this month for her service, has organized the conference since its start and said that this year’s topic struck her as she worked at the Washington D.C. Temple. She was also inspired by the work of photographer Robert Boyd, who will present and display his work at the conference.
“This is going to be a magnificent conference,” Knight said. “I know of no other conferences quite like these at Southern Virginia. They are small and intimate, and conference attendees have the opportunity to meet the presenters personally. The theme is developed over a two-day period, and conference attendees remain together for the entire conference experience. It is a wonderful, spiritual retreat for adults, students, couples [and] friends.”
Knight said that the university is “so blessed” to have Walker as the keynote speaker. In addition to his 12 years as a General Authority, Walker brings with him experience from a successful career, having worked in “executive positions with major firms in the securities and investment banking fields.” He has also served the Church in a number of capacities, including as a bishop, a stake president and a mission president of the Japan Tokyo South Mission. As a General Authority, he also served as area president of the Asia North Area.
Other speakers at the conference will include Michael Enfield, who worked for the Church Temple Construction Department for 24 years; Kent and Kathryn Colton, the current president and matron of the Washington D.C. Temple; and Anthony Sweat, assistant professor of church history and doctrine at Brigham Young University.
Claudia and Leslie Bright, a couple from Boiling Springs, S.C., have attended the conference for nearly half a decade.
“There is always a topic that we feel we can benefit from. We are always refreshed and renewed when we return home,” Claudia Bright said.
The Brights have extended invitations to a number of their friends to join them for this year’s conference. Claudia Bright said that she and her husband are particularly excited about this year’s topic because they are both ordinance workers in the Columbia South Carolina Temple.
“We are very excited about this year’s topic and know we will leave the conference with a greater appreciation and love for the temple,” she said.
Knight said that this is exactly what she intends for those who attend the conferences.
“It is a great blessing to have our beautiful campus in Virginia where we can host spiritual conferences of this quality and hear outstanding presenters without having to travel across the country,” she said. “I hope [attendees] will feel inspired, blessed and uplifted for having come to Southern Virginia University.”
Full biographies of each presenter and registration information are available at svu.edu/conference.