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Scott G. Winterton, Deseret News
BYU Campus Education Week goers line up to register at the Marriott Center on Monday, Aug. 15, 2011.

PROVO — More than 20,000 participants from all over the country and a dozen other countries started gathering at Brigham Young University Monday to attend classes at the 89th annual Campus Education Week.

The theme of this year’s program is “That All May Be Edified” (Doctrine and Covenants 88:122).

“The theme highlights the benefits of coming together to learn truth, increasing in wisdom and knowledge and sharing the various gifts we possess,” said Bruce Payne, the event’s program administrator. “It serves as an invitation to seek inspiration and personal growth so that others can in turn be edified by the things you learn.”

More than 200 presenters will teach 1,000 classes on gospel principles, family and marriage relations, self-improvement, finance, education, youth topics and others.

Participants will be treated to a general session with Elder Jay E. Jensen of the Presidency of the Seventy of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints on Tuesday in the BYU Marriott Center at 11 a.m.

The program, originally named “Leadership Week,” was first held in January 1922 and focused on LDS Church leadership training. More than 2,000 attended that inaugural event. The first classes for youths were offered in 1958.

In 1963, the name was changed to “Education Week,” and its scope was enlarged to reach a broader audience. Today, BYU hopes the program will spiritually strengthen participants and foster a commitment to lifelong learning and service.

Last year, Education Week drew more than 20,400 people, ages 14 and older, from around the United States and 18 other countries. Of the 2010 participants, 71 percent were female and 29 percent were male.

On Monday, large groups of attendees, including couples walking hand-in-hand and small groups of friends, moved from building to building in an effort to find their next classes.

Among the throng is 73-year-old Marilee Campbell, a Provo resident. She hasn’t attended in 15 years but came this time to learn more about specific topics so she can help loved ones overcome personal problems. She is grateful that Education Week will address topics such as addiction and ADHD, as well as gospel-related subjects.

“These are topics I really needed to learn about,” Campbell said. “People have come from all over, hungry to learn. Where else can you get an opportunity like this to learn? We are all here for the same reason, to learn and grow.”

Rob Price, 53, traveled to Utah from Charlotte, N.C. He graduated from BYU in 1982 and loves coming back to Provo.

“I have enjoyed it a lot. The subject matter is so varied and wide-ranging that there is something for everybody, certainly something for me,” Price said as he prepared to enter a session addressing the biblical writings of Isaiah. “The scholarship, the depth of testimony, there are so many things that are good. There is something on every level for everybody who is interested.”

Education Week gets started full-force on Tuesday and will run through Friday. For a schedule of classes, performances, events, broadcasts and other information, visit educationweek.byu.edu or call 801-422-6214.

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