The Groves Conference was begun in 1934 by the late Professor Ernest Groves, who was among the first academicians to give a course in marriage and the family in an established university, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. The conference began with the bringing together of a few teachers and students interested in serious study of the family. It evolved over the years into an interdisciplinary, interprofessional organization of limited invited membership. Its objectives are to work on the leading edges of theory development and empirical research in the field. The Groves Conference is timely and provocative with diverse and flexible foci.
Unlike the traditional format of professional associations where many formal papers are presented, the Groves Conference seeks to limit the number of presentations and conducts its sessions primarily via seminars and workshops. Consequently, attendees have the opportunity to participate in eight to ten hours of continuous dialogue and exchange within a small group on one of the subtopics of the Groves Conference. This allows for the exploration of issues in depth, as well as free exchange of ideas, information, and experience between scholars and other professionals from the various disciplines concerned with the family. The Conference usually meets once each year in the spring in a location conducive to relaxed intellectual activity and meets outside the United States occasionally to provide the opportunity for the Groves Conference members to exchange ideas with experts from other countries who are concerned with the family.
Ernest Groves was born on May 6, 1877 in Framingham, Massachusetts. He received his B.D. from Yale Divinity in 1901 and his A.B. from Dartmouth College in 1903. Professor Groves taught at New Hampshire University, Boston University, Duke University and the University of North Carolina. As an author, he published more than twenty books and 200 articles and became one of the leading and most respected family life educators in this country. Along with his wife, Gladys, Professor Groves began two successful annual conferences on the Conservation of Marriage and Family; one at UNC and the other at the North Carolina College for Negroes. Professor Groves died on August 29, 1946 in Arlington, Massachusetts while teaching summer school. Mrs. Groves, a scholar in her own right, continued her and her husband's work and died on July 11, 1980 in Virginia Beach, Virginia.
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