Legendary broadcast journalist Dan Rather will appear Tuesday, Feb. 13 as the next speaker of The University of Texas-Pan American's Distinguished Speakers Series.
Rather, the third speaker in this academic year's series that previously featured famed actor Louis Gossett Jr. and Nobel Prize winner Rigoberta Menchú, will speak at the UTPA Fine Arts Auditorium at 7:30 p.m. The free event is open to the public but seating is limited. UTPA students, faculty and staff will be admitted with a valid University ID at 7 p.m. while the general public will be allowed to enter at 7:20 p.m.
Rather, a native Texan, graduated from Sam Houston State Teachers College where he majored in journalism and was editor of the school newspaper. He first joined CBS News in 1962 as chief of its Southwest bureau, where he reported extensively on the 1960s civil rights struggles. He soon became CBS' White House correspondent and eventually succeeded Walter Cronkite as CBS' news anchor.
During his longtime career, Rather has covered every presidential campaign since 1960 and was a leading force in broadcast news investigation of the Watergate scandal. He has also covered wars from Vietnam to Iraq and was among the first western journalists to report on the 1989 Tiananmen Square protests and the last reporter on the air when the Chinese Army moved in with force.
More recently, Rather broke the shocking story of the Abu Ghraib prison abuses for which he was recognized in 2005 with prestigious Peabody and Sigma Delta Chi awards. These kudos join several Emmys and many other broadcast journalism honors for his work. In addition, he has authored or co-authored six books and upon his departure from CBS in 2005 began producing and hosting Dan Rather Reports, a weekly news program featuring hard-edged field reports, interviews and investigative pieces which debuted exclusively on HDNet in 2006.
The Distinguished Speakers Series is underwritten by student fees and the speakers are chosen by a Distinguished Speakers Committee made up of students, faculty and staff.
"The purpose of the Distinguished Speaker Series is to host events in which outstanding individuals representing a variety of worldviews and backgrounds are invited to the University to speak and exchange ideas. These individuals offer presentations that will educate and inspire our students," said Melissa Benavides, associate director of the Student Union.
Benavides said Rather was chosen as a speaker by the committee because of his experience, his distinction as a journalist, and for his perspectives on world events. His remarks will relate to the dynamics of the media and journalism and his experience as a professional and leader.
The final speaker in this year's series is Scott Ritter, who served as Chief Weapons Inspector for the United Nations Special Commission in Iraq, where he was in charge of searching for weapons of mass destruction. He has become a noted critic of U.S. foreign policy in the Middle East and is the best-selling author of books relating to the U.S. situation in Iraq. Ritter will speak April 5 at 7:30 p.m. in the Student Union Theater.
For more information or if special accommodations are needed, contact the Student Union office at 956/316-7989.