OGDEN — Boyd K. Packer, President of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and his wife Donna are being honored Wednesday evening at Weber State University at the official opening of the new Packer Center for Families.
Pres. Packer has been a Church leader since 1970, and before that was an educator and supervisor for the Seminaries and Institutes of Religion. He and his wife Donna are the parents of 10 children who said their mother was the educator in their home.
The extended Packer family gathered with university administrators to officially open the Packer Center for Families in the College of Education.
WSU is a very important place for the Packers; both Pres. Packer and Donna enjoyed attending school there and both received Associate's degrees. More importantly, it's where their courtship began.
It was early 1947 when Pres. Packer, a young bomber pilot recently returned from WWII, became reacquainted with Donna Smith, Brigham City's Peach Queen.
"Dad was in the library and mother was working at the circulation desk and he approached the circulation desk and they exchanged some words," said son David Packer. "I think there must have been a spark."
Soon, Pres. Packer began studying regularly at the library. Donna Smith was a very active college coed, attending school on a music scholarship and playing in the orchestra, as well as many other activities.
"She participated in a sorority, even played women's basketball, eventually lettering in basketball," their son said. "So she was very much involved with campus life."
Pres. Packer's focus was on achieving his Associate's degree.
"He had decided in the war that he wanted to become an educator and so, his purpose was to get his education and move forward and yet, this pretty, little girl turned his head," The younger Packer said.
They were soon engaged and married in July of 1947.
David Packer said his parents are very honored that university administrators would create a center in their names, especially one that speaks of what they hold dear — families and education.
The center will support eight community outreach programs, including literacy, a charter academy, teachers of tomorrow and child care resources.
"It really coincides with what they've been trying to do all their lives and that is promote education and literacy and upward movement because the family is the heart of the society," their son said. "And they're reaching into the family and that's a great thing, that's a great legacy."