In 1948, under Melba S. Lehner’s leadership the Department indicated an intense interest and commitment to education for a healthy marriage, family living and parenting. In a co-partnership with the Utah State Department of Education and the Ogden City Schools, a Family Life Institute was started with a two-day conference being the main focus. This conference addressed current issues facing families of the time.

Dr. Ernest G. Osborne came to the Weber College Campus in 1948 to address the theme "Guiding Growing Children". Dr. Osborne was from Columbia University in New York and had recently returned from China where he had been a consultant of the China Aid Council.

"Today’s Children – Tomorrow’s Adults" was the theme of the 1950 Family Life Conference. Mrs. Sidonie Matsner Gruenberg, author and lecturer in Parent Education at New York University was the conference keynote.

"Growing Up In An Atomic Age" was the theme of the 1954 conference with Judson T. Landis, Associate Professor of Family Sociology, University of California, Berkeley as the lecturer and consultant.

The conference was not held again for a few years. In the late 1970’s, national news magazines, professional journals and popular media were telling the world that the American Family was in a state of decline and deterioration. Social problems were evident in all levels of society and said to be due to the breakdown of the family.

The Child and Family Studies faculty met in the spring and the fall of 1980 to discuss and set goals for the department, and at the same time plans were made to revise and upgrade the past Family Life Conference.

The Families Alive Conference, in its current format, originated in 1980 with the Child & Family Studies faculty at Weber State University. The original and continuing goal of the conference is to dispel the pervasive myth that all families are dysfunctional and instead champion the successes of everyday families. The faculty wanted to share positive information and attitudes about the current American family with students, colleagues, and the community.

The department continues to offer this important conference on an annual or biannual basis. Through the contributions of various agencies, institutions, and foundations throughout the intermountain area, the Families Alive Conference has been a rewarding experience to thousands of individuals, and has benefited families in innumerable ways.

Through the donation of numerous student and faculty volunteer hours and generous financial gifts from the Junior E. and Blanche B. Rich foundation and Annie Clark Tanner Endowment, the department has been able to sponsor nationally and locally recognized family experts to present at the conferences. These professionals have included Dr. Carlfred Broderick, Dr. James Lynch, Dr. Steven Glenn, Dr. David Elkind, Dr. Burton White, Dr. Alvin Poussaint, Dr. Bettye Caldwell, Dr. Norris Haynes, Richard Louve, Maya Angelou, Guadalupe Lara, Henry Winkler, Alfie Kohn, and Jane Clayson Johnson.

1.    Learn creative ways to enhance the lives of adults, children and families.
2.    Gain powerful methods of problem solving, teaching and advocacy.
3.    Experience fun techniques to energize and strengthen your relationships with family, 
       friends, and colleagues.

Past Families Alive Sponsors
Weber State University Department of Child and Family Studies
Weber State University Jerry and Vickie Moyes College of Education
Weber State University Continuing Education
O.C. Tanner Corporation
John D. and Vera E. Eccles Family
Janice and Thomas D. Dee, II
Dr. and Mrs. Fred Clayson
MSL Family Foundation
Nebeker Family Foundation
Scott and Sally Priest
American Dream Foundation

                              FAMILIES ALIVE Past Photos

Friday September 16th

Thurl Bailey presented an inspiring keynote address about following your dream. Experiences from his childhood that influenced his eventual success as a basketball player were shared with conference participants.


                        Dr. Chloe D. Merrill & Thurl                         Dr. Charlesworth & Thurl

Nurturing Hand Award

Carole Haun presented the Nurturing Hand Award to Carol Tribe, a former department faculty member who had been instrumental in pioneering various programs including an outreach program to train Head Start teachers on various Indian reservations in the Western states.


                                Carole Haun & Carol Tribe                     Carol Tribe accepts the award.

Carol and Frank Tribe with family and friend Jean Kunz and daughter Christy. 

Department faculty and students honor Carol Tribe.

Old friends get together one more time...


Carol Tribe, Carole Haun, and Jean Kunz                Carrol Tribe & Jean Kunz

CFSSA shows support of conference.

 Pepper Schwartz delivers keynote address to conclude the conference.


Henry Winker Keynote                                     Dr. Chloe D. Merrill & Jim Fay 2011
address in 2002

Updated  03-06-2012