" ...I was privileged to attend the Ruth Institute's first student conference and it was AMAZING...The experts didn't just present, though, they were with us during the entire event, approachable and answering all of our questions at any time...the best part was being able to get to know so many fellow students from so many different religious, cultural, and regional backgrounds that all agreed so thoroughly on these issues. It was the highlight of my summer! Thank you Ruth Institute!!!"
“Personally, it was an honor to be a part of the first ITAF conference in San Diego. It was an extremely powerful and informative experience that equipped me as a student to take a stand for the divine institution of marriage as our Creator designed it, and prepared me to speak out against the forces trying to change its definition in our society today.”
Nate from Milwaukee
“Dr. J. and the other speakers provided information relevant to my position today as a young adult who believes in traditional marriage...the conference provided an opportunity for us to see we’re not alone in the fight for traditional marriage values. Often in our environments we’re told the opposite.”
Autumn, Gonzaga University
On August 6th 2009 at the University of San Diego, 32 students from across America along with experts in their respective fields, came together for three days to discuss the institution of marriage; how it stands in today's society, what challenges and jeopardy it faces and what we, as a free society, can do to nurture and protect it.
The Ruth Institute's First Annual Student conference was a resounding success.
DAY ONE - THE OPENING CEREMONIES
The weekend was kicked off with a wonderful Mexican buffet under the stars, with weather in San Diego cooperating nicely.
Our Master of Ceremonies was local San Diego attorney Chuck LiMandri, who is also the general Counsel of National Organization for Marriage and the attorney who helped lead the effort to pass Proposition 8. Chuck introduced the speakers for the weekend's conference and finally Dr. Morse who gave the keynote address for the evening.
Our students were given an opportunity to meet one another and enjoy some relaxing moments with the more than 100 guests in attendance at the dinner, which included many donors and supporters of the Ruth Institute, as well as numerous members of the clergy and the news media. The entire evening was videotaped. Afterward, the students and the presenters retired to their rooms at the wonderful housing facility offered by the University of San Diego.
DAY TWO -- THE SPEAKERS
Six renowned presenters — offering perspective from a variety of positions on the issue of marriage — were present to share their wisdom and counsel with the students. (Note: the slides used by the various professors listed below, if available, are downloadable here, under their respective listings.)
- W. Bradford Wilcox, Ph.D., is Associate Professor of Sociology and Director of the National Marriage Project at the University of Virginia.
- Mr. Bill Duncan, Attorney at Law, is the director of the Marriage Law Foundation, a legal organization whose mission is providing legal resources in defense of marriage as the union of a husband and wife.
- Dr. Gary Rose, Physician. Dr Rose spent 27 years in the private practice of internal medicine and pulmonary disease at the Amarillo Diagnostic Clinic. He is resident Emeritus of the Medical Institute for Sexual Health and is board certified in Internal Medicine and Pulmonary Diseases and has been chosen multiple years as one of America’s Top Physicians
- Mrs. Cassy Hough, Love & Fidelity Network, is a founder of Princeton's student group, the Anscombe Society, which has received national attention for supporting the institution of marriage
- Robert A. J. Gagnon is Associate Professor of New Testament at Pittsburgh Theological Seminary. He has a B.A. degree from Dartmouth College, an M.T.S. from Harvard Divinity School, and a Ph.D. from Princeton Theological Seminary.
- Dr. Jennifer Roback Morse, Founder, Ruth Institute. "Dr. J" is the founder and President of the Ruth Institute, a non-profit educational institute promoting lifelong married love to the young by creating an intellectual and social climate favorable to marriage.
"...by far the best conference I have ever attended! The information is invaluable, the experience memorable and the constant stream of thoughts on marriage and its social good have interrupted many of my pondering moments! Hands down -- fantastic job!!"
Leah from Texas
The students were allowed to break during mid-day for an hour lunch at the fabulous new state of-the-art cafeteria just completed on the USD campus, where the discussions on marriage continued.
The afternoon brought more discussions from medical perspective by Dr. Gary Rose and toward the evening, students were invited to participate in a Q and A period with the entire faculty in a dais format.
By nine o'clock, enervated but enthusiastic, students retired for the evening.