King Welcomes Holocaust Survivor Peter Gorog

BRISTOL, Tenn., March 9, 2020 — It’s one thing to read about oppression, persecution, and imprisonment in a history book, where terms like “violent anti-Semitism” and “1940s Europe” can be considered at a distance, something assigned to an era that’s far removed from present-day life.

Sitting down with someone who survived those harsh realities, though, and hearing stories told in their own voice — that’s something else altogether.

As part of its annual Holocaust Remembrance, King’s Institute for Faith & Culture is proud to welcome Peter Gorog, an engineer who personally experienced the rise of Nazism in Hungary during the 1940s.

Gorog will speak on Monday, March 23, at 9:15 a.m. in King’s Memorial Chapel on the main campus in Bristol, and again at 7 p.m. at First Baptist Church, located at 1 Virginia Way in Bristol, Virginia. All events are open to the public and free of charge.

A native of Budapest, Gorog was born in 1941, a time when Jewish families were increasingly being torn apart by imprisonment, mandated housing in ghettoes, and conscription into forced labor battalions. Members of his family endured all these circumstances, as well as bitter cold, starvation, and hardships lasting beyond the 1945 liberation of Budapest, including malnourishment and continued discrimination.

An electrical engineer who contributed to the design of the first Hungarian computer, Gorog defected to the United States in 1980 and has since worked with NASA on several major satellite and orbital telescope projects, including GOES, LANDSAT, Hubble, and the James Webb Space Telescope.

“Many Holocaust survivors are now in their 80s and 90s, and the opportunity to take part in their story firsthand is becoming increasingly rare,” said Martin Dotterweich, Ph.D., director of the Institute. “We’re grateful to Peter for sharing his time with us and bringing this pivotal period in history to life with an immediacy that we would not otherwise experience.”

Gorog serves as a volunteer at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, and his visit to King is courtesy of the museum’s Office of Survivor Affairs.

For more information about the Institute, including the full schedule for the speaker series, visit king.edu/faithandculture.

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King University is a Presbyterian-affiliated, doctoral-level comprehensive university. Founded in 1867 as King College, the University offers more than 90 majors, minors, pre-professional degrees and concentrations in fields such as business, nursing, law, medical and health sciences, pharmacy, education, and humanities. Graduate programs are offered in business administration, education, and nursing. A number of research, off-campus learning opportunities, and travel destinations are also available. King University is a NCAA Division II and a Conference Carolinas member with 25 varsity sports. For more information about King University, visit www.king.edu. King University does not discriminate against academically qualified students of any race, color, national or ethnic origin, sex, age, or disability. King University is certified by SCHEV to operate in Virginia. King’s primary location in Virginia is Southwest Virginia Community College, 724 Community College Rd, Cedar Bluff, and VA 24609.

King Explores Women’s Suffrage and the Work of Ruth Bell Graham With Noted Author and Professor Anne B. Wills

BRISTOL, Tenn., Feb. 19, 2020— King University’s Institute for Faith & Culture speaker series continues Monday, Feb. 24, with Anne Blue Wills, Ph.D., author and professor of religious studies at Davidson College in Davidson, North Carolina.

Wills will survey the involvement of women of faith in the suffrage movement, and also share excerpts from Ruth Bell Graham’s poetry collection in two separate presentations.

On Monday, Feb. 24, she will present “The Bible and the Ballot: Arguing for Women’s Suffrage” to mark the 100th anniversary of the adoption of the 19th Amendment at 9:15 a.m. in the Memorial Chapel on King’s main campus in Bristol, and “Write or Develop an Ulcer,” a look at Ruth Bell Graham through her poetry, at 7 p.m. at Emmanuel Episcopal Church, located at 700 Cumberland Street in Bristol, Virginia. Both events are free and open to the public.

“Anne’s work delves into aspects of the ordinary, from scrapbooks to obituaries to Thanksgiving celebrations, to find unique insight into large-scale movements in American religious history,” said Martin Dotterweich, Ph.D., director of the Institute. “She has broad teaching interests, including civil religion, politics, African-American traditions, Mormonism, and the art of the memoir, and is presently writing a biography of Ruth Bell Graham. We are delighted to welcome Dr. Wills to the Institute to mark the 100th anniversary of women’s suffrage and present some of her discoveries about Graham.”

A graduate of Davidson College, the School of Divinity at Yale Divinity, and Duke University, Wills is an ordained elder in the Presbyterian Church (USA). She has served as president of the American Academy of Religion’s Southeast Region, and chaired the Southeastern Commission for the Study of Religion (SECSOR). She co-chairs the SECSOR’s History of Christianity section.   

In addition to her current work on a biography of Ruth Bell Graham, wife of the late evangelist Billy Graham, who is the subject of her co-edited book, “Billy Graham: American Pilgrim,” Wills reflects on Ruth Graham as a case study for writing women’s history in her most recent article, “Heroes, Women, Wives: Writing other Lives.”

For more information about the Institute, including the full schedule for the speaker series, visit king.edu/faithandculture.

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King University is a Presbyterian-affiliated, doctoral-level comprehensive university. Founded in 1867 as King College, the University offers more than 90 majors, minors, pre-professional degrees and concentrations in fields such as business, nursing, law, medical and health sciences, pharmacy, education, and humanities. Graduate programs are offered in business administration, education, and nursing. A number of research, off-campus learning opportunities, and travel destinations are also available. King University is a NCAA Division II and a Conference Carolinas member with 25 varsity sports. For more information about King University, visit www.king.edu. King University does not discriminate against academically qualified students of any race, color, national or ethnic origin, sex, age, or disability. King University is certified by SCHEV to operate in Virginia. King’s primary location in Virginia is Southwest Virginia Community College, 724 Community College Rd, Cedar Bluff, and VA 24609.

Institute for Faith & Culture Celebrates Appalachia with Author and Professor S.J. Dahlman

BRISTOL, Tenn., Jan. 29, 2020 — King University’s Institute for Faith & Culture 2019 – 2020 speaker series continues Monday, Feb. 10, with author S.J. (Jim) Dahlman and an examination of the beauty of home.

Dahlman, who serves as professor of communications and area chair of performing, visual, and communicative arts at Milligan College, is the author of 2019’s “A Familiar Wilderness: Searching for Home on Daniel Boone’s Road.” The book details his solo hike retracing Boone’s late 1700s exploration of our area, touching on the historic details of that journey as well as profiling the many contemporary personalities Dahlman met along the way.

Dahlman will present the Institute’s 2020 Appalachian Lectures, titled “Meditations from an Old Road: Beauty Will Save Us” at 9:15 a.m. in the Memorial Chapel on King’s main campus, and “Meditations from an Old Road: Truth will Set us Free” at 7 p.m. at First Baptist Church, 1 Virginia Street, in Bristol, Virginia. Both events are open to the public and free-of-charge.

“As humans, so much of what we value as beauty and holiness grows from our individual concepts of home,” said Martin Dotterweich, Ph.D., director of the Institute. “We’re very lucky to live in a region that is rich in natural beauty and deeply textured with music, storytelling and character, and Dahlman is able to capture an engaging and dynamic snapshot of Appalachia and the personalities who call our mountains home. We’re delighted to welcome him as the 2020 Appalachian Lecturer and look forward to taking part in his stories.”

Dahlman holds a Master of Fine Arts degree in creative nonfiction from Goucher College, a Master of Arts in English with an editing and publishing emphasis from the University of Cincinnati, and a Bachelor of Arts degree in Bible and humanities from Milligan College. He has also studied at Emmanuel Christian Seminary, Springdale College in Birmingham, England, and the London School of Journalism.

For more information about the Institute, including the full schedule for the speaker series, visit king.edu/faithandculture.

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King University is a Presbyterian-affiliated, doctoral-level comprehensive university. Founded in 1867 as King College, the University offers more than 90 majors, minors, pre-professional degrees and concentrations in fields such as business, nursing, law, medical and health sciences, pharmacy, education, and humanities. Graduate programs are offered in business administration, education, and nursing. A number of research, off-campus learning opportunities, and travel destinations are also available. King University is a NCAA Division II and a Conference Carolinas member with 25 varsity sports. For more information about King University, visit www.king.edu. King University does not discriminate against academically qualified students of any race, color, national or ethnic origin, sex, age, or disability. King University is certified by SCHEV to operate in Virginia. King’s primary location in Virginia is Southwest Virginia Community College, 724 Community College Rd, Cedar Bluff, VA 24609.

Institute for Faith & Culture Welcomes Award-Winning Composer Shawn Okpebholo

BRISTOL, Tenn., Jan. 22, 2020 — King University’s Institute for Faith & Culture 2019 – 2020 speaker series continues Monday, Jan. 27, with nationally recognized composer Shawn Okpebholo, DMA.

Okpebholo’s award-winning works are highly diverse in style and genre, ranging from original compositions to re-imaginings of traditional hymns, and created for a variety of arrangements, from solo voice to full orchestra.

He will present “Reclaiming My Identity Through the Negro Spiritual” at 9:15 a.m. in the Memorial Chapel on King’s main campus in Bristol, and “Reclaiming the Theology of the Negro Spiritual” at 7 p.m. at Central Presbyterian Church, located at 301 Euclid Ave. in Bristol, Virginia. Both events are free-of-charge and open to the public.

“Doctor Okpebholo’s works have rightly been described as diverse and dynamic, bearing enormous creativity and grace,” said Martin Dotterweich, Ph.D., director of the Institute. “He is greatly skilled at tracing the roots of African American music, interpreting traditions in new and influential ways, and connecting communities around the globe. We are excited to share in his talent and exploration, and delighted to welcome him to the Institute.”

Okpebholo has performed in prestigious venues throughout the U.S., including Carnegie Hall, The Kennedy Center, and the Washington National Cathedral. He holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Composition and Music Theory from Asbury College, with additional studies in film scoring at New York University. He earned a Master of Music degree and a Doctor of Musical Arts degree with an emphasis in composition and theory from the University of Cincinnati College – Conservatory of Music. He currently serves as assistant professor of music composition and theory at the Wheaton College Conservatory of Music in Wheaton, Illinois.

A significant part of Okpebholo’s music education can be credited to the free music lessons he received from the Salvation Army church where he spent his adolescent years. Inspired by that charity, he remains passionate about volunteering his musical talents to underserved communities.

For more information about the Institute, including the full schedule for the speaker series, visit king.edu/faithandculture.

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King University is a Presbyterian-affiliated, doctoral-level comprehensive university. Founded in 1867 as King College, the University offers more than 90 majors, minors, pre-professional degrees and concentrations in fields such as business, nursing, law, medical and health sciences, pharmacy, education, and humanities. Graduate programs are offered in business administration, education, and nursing. A number of research, off-campus learning opportunities, and travel destinations are also available. King University is a NCAA Division II and a Conference Carolinas member with 25 varsity sports. For more information about King University, visit www.king.edu. King University does not discriminate against academically qualified students of any race, color, national or ethnic origin, sex, age, or disability. King University is certified by SCHEV to operate in Virginia. King’s primary location in Virginia is Southwest Virginia Community College, 724 Community College Rd, Cedar Bluff, VA 24609.

King University Observes Martin Luther King, Jr. Day with Founder of Homeboy Industries Father Greg Boyle

BRISTOL, Tenn., Jan. 09, 2020 — Boundless compassion. Radical kinship. Extravagant tenderness. Not terms that you would expect to hear when discussing gang violence, mass incarceration, or a period of time in U.S. history known as the “decade of death.”

It’s exactly that contrast, though, that has enabled the lifelong work of Father Greg Boyle to flourish.

Boyle, founder of Homeboy Industries, will join the Bristol community to present the Institute for Faith & Culture’s 2020 Martin Luther King, Jr. Day Lecture. On Monday, Jan. 20, at 7 p.m., Boyle will present “The Whole Language: The Power of Extravagant Tenderness” at Lee Street Baptist Church in Bristol, Virginia. On Tuesday, Jan. 21, at 10 a.m., he will present “Barking to the Choir: The Power of Radical Kinship” in King’s Memorial Chapel on the Bristol campus. Both events are free and open to the public.

“Father Boyle’s work to integrate gentleness and restore respect in communities struggling with violence is a beautiful reflection of Dr. King’s vision of wholeness for society, and we’re delighted to welcome him for this year’s observance,” said Martin Dotterweich, Ph.D., director of the Institute. “Father Boyle’s work began at the very center of an area known for conflict, aggression, murder, and retribution, and he has since helped restore hope and community to many thousands here in the U.S. and abroad.”

Boyle founded Homeboy Industries in Los Angeles in 1988, with a goal of providing job training and support services for the thousands of individuals transitioning away from gang affiliation, out of the prison system, and back into the workforce and community. Today, Homeboy offers education, counseling, tattoo removal, job training, and more in a transformational — and restorative — business model that is being replicated across the globe.

As part of the event, two members of Homeboy Industries will join Boyle in Bristol, sharing their experiences of God’s redemptive love.

“Father Gregory models Dr. King’s call to justice and compassion, and his work bears witness to the power of love in the most difficult circumstances,” Dotterweich said. “We’re delighted to learn from him, as well as members of the Homeboy Industries community, and proud to be part of Bristol’s annual celebration of Dr. King’s life.”

A Jesuit priest, Boyle received his bachelor of arts in English from Gonzaga University, a master of arts in English from Loyola Marymount University, and advanced theology degrees from The Weston School of Theology and the Jesuit School of Theology at Berkeley. He is the recipient of numerous honorary degrees, awards, and recognitions, including being named as a Champion of Change by the White House in 2014, and receiving the University of Notre Dame’s Laetare Medal, the oldest honor presented to American Catholics, in 2017.

He is the author of the New York Times bestselling book, “Tattoos on the Heart: The Power of Boundless Compassion,” and most recently published “Barking to the Choir: The Power of Radical Kinship.”

For more information about the Institute, including the full schedule for the speaker series, visit king.edu/faithandculture.

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King University is a Presbyterian-affiliated, doctoral-level comprehensive university. Founded in 1867 as King College, the University offers more than 90 majors, minors, pre-professional degrees and concentrations in fields such as business, nursing, law, medical and health sciences, pharmacy, education, and humanities. Graduate programs are offered in business administration, education, and nursing. A number of research, off-campus learning opportunities, and travel destinations are also available. King University is a NCAA Division II and a Conference Carolinas member with 25 varsity sports. For more information about King University, visit www.king.edu. King University does not discriminate against academically qualified students of any race, color, national or ethnic origin, sex, age, or disability. King University is certified by SCHEV to operate in Virginia. King’s primary location in Virginia is Southwest Virginia Community College, 724 Community College Rd, Cedar Bluff, VA 24609.