News Release

Elder Ronald A. Rasband Delivers Keynote Address at 20th Anniversary Commemoration & Presidential Inauguration

Buena Vista, Va.—Elder Ronald A. Rasband of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints delivered the keynote address at the 20th Anniversary Commemoration and Inauguration of President Reed N. Wilcox.

“This year, 2016, is a landmark year for this institution,” said Elder Rasband. “Twenty years ago, a small group of leaders lead by dear Brother and Sister Knight established the University.

“We commend them for putting in place this campus for higher learning and higher standards of living. Much has happened here at Southern Virginia University and there is much, much more to come.”

Elder Rasband read the credentials of newly inaugurated President Wilcox, which included attending Brigham Young University and Harvard University, working as a worldwide partner for Boston Consulting Group, and serving as a mission president over the France, Toulouse mission.

“[Southern Virginia] will be enriched and enlarged by the leadership of President Wilcox,” told Elder Rasband. “It is fair to say this University is in very good hands. To have him at the helm is to have a man who will seek God in his decisions.”

Left to right: Chairman of the Board of Trustees Dane McBride, Southern Virginia University Co-founders Glad and Kathleen Knight, Elder Ronald A. Rasband, President Reed Wilcox

He encouraged President Wilcox to help students include religious thought and study as central to their Southern Virginia University experience, acknowledging the spirit he already felt while visiting the University’s campus.

“This campus has serenity conducive to learning,” said Elder Rasband. “Not all campuses have such a sense of peace. I think that is why the Lord chose mountaintops and sacred groves for His teaching.”

Elder Rasband continued to share his observations of campus after visiting multiple classes earlier that morning.

“Many colleges and universities boast of their numbers, fitting in as many students as they can in a classroom or hall,” told Elder Rasband. “Not here. You have the luxury of a student body where the focus is not on the mass of students, but on the one.”

Inviting those in attendance to reflect on the expression “one by one,” Elder Rasband shared examples of how Jesus Christ teaches us individually.

“Jesus Christ went about doing good, touching the lives of people one by one,” taught Elder Rasband. “His parables and often his healings focused on the one. One by one he took our sins upon Him in the garden of Gethsemane.

“One by one He lifts us to higher, safer ground and He asks us to do the same for others.”

In his closing remarks, Elder Rasband testified of Christ’s love for everyone individually, and blessed those in attendance to “continue to find ways to sacrifice, consecrate, and serve on another one by one.”