The multiple Emmy award-winning veteran journalist Bill Moyers has been selected as this year’s Tresolini Lecture speaker. Moyers’ talk, which is free and open to the public, is scheduled for 8 p.m. Tuesday, April 7, in Baker Hall of the Zoellner Arts Center.
The Rocco J. Tresolini Lectureship in Law was established in 1978, in memory of one of Lehigh’s most distinguished teachers and scholars, Rocco Tresolini (1920-1967), who served as professor and chair of the department of government.
Moyers will be the latest in a long line of luminaries to deliver the Tresolini Lecture. These include former U.S. Attorney General Janet Reno, legendary investigative journalist Seymour Hersh, former Vietnam War-era strategic analyst Daniel Ellsberg, Presumed Innocent author Scott Turow, U.S. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, former Watergate-era White House Counsel John Dean, Bush v. Gore attorney David Boies, and Innocence Project founder Barry Scheck.
Tresolini Lecture co-organizer Richard Matthews, NEH Distinguished Professor and Chair of Political Science, said he can think of no social critic better qualified to discuss the current state of democracy in the United States.
“Over the course of decades, Bill Moyers has been for the United States what Socrates was to Athens: a voice of reason challenging citizens to pursue a more just political community,” Matthews said.
Distinguished University Professor of Political Science Ted Morgan, who sought Moyers as a speaker, said that he frequently employs Moyers’ videos, and that they have been critically important in his teaching, particularly in his class on the relationship propaganda, Media and American Politics.”
"For a very long time,” Morgan said, “Moyers has been about the only option for television viewers interested in getting important critical information and perspectives on the enormous problems we face as a society. His very presence has been a model of what our democratic society so desperately needs from its mass media.”
'An essential voice in our national conversation'
A broadcast journalist for more than four decades, Moyers has been recognized as one of the unique voices of our times and one that resonates with multiple generations. He’s earned praise from many colleagues, including NBC newsman Brian Williams, who described him as not only an essential voice in our national conversation, but also “the living antithesis to an era of shocking superficiality in our discourse and media.”
Moyers began his journalism career at age 16 as a cub reporter for his hometown daily newspaper in Marshall, Texas. He was a founding organizer and deputy director of the Peace Corps and special assistant to President Lyndon B. Johnson. He later served as Johnson’s press secretary from 1965 to 1967.
As publisher of Newsday from 1967 to 1970, Moyers is credited with bringing aboard extraordinary writers such as Pete Hamill and Saul Bellow, and led the paper to two Pulitzer Prizes. In 1976, he was the senior correspondent for the distinguished documentary series CBS Reports and later a senior news analyst for The CBS Evening News.
With his wife and creative partner, Judith Davidson Moyers, Bill Moyers has produced such ground-breaking public affairs programs as NOW with Bill Moyers (from 2002 through 2005) and Bill Moyers Journal (from 2007 through 2010). Since the company’s founding in 1986, other notable productions have included the landmark 1988 series, Joseph Campbell and the Power of Myth; as well as Healing and the Mind; The Language of Life: A Festival of Poets; Genesis; On Our Own Terms: Moyers on Dying; Moyers on Addiction: Close to Home; America’s First River; and Becoming American: The Chinese Experience.
His latest media venture is Moyers & Company, which is available on air and online at BillMoyers.com. The program provides “conversations on democracy” and explorations of contemporary culture, with a focus on activism and social justice.
Moyers has received multiple awards for his body of work, including more than 30 Emmys, two prestigious Alfred I. Dupont-Columbia University Awards, nine Peabodys, and three George Polk Awards. In the first year it was bestowed, Moyers received the prestigious Honorary Doctor of Fine Arts by the American Film Institute. A Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, he also received the Career Achievement Award from the International Documentary Association and has been honored by the Television Critics Association for outstanding career achievement.
Moyers was elected to the Television Hall of Fame in 1995. A year later, he received the Charles Frankel Prize (now the National Humanities Medal) from the National Endowment for the Humanities “for outstanding contributions to American cultural life.” In 2005, Moyers received the PEN USA Courageous Advocacy Award for his passionate, outspoken commitment to freedom of speech and his dedication to journalistic integrity. He has also been honored with the National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences’ Lifetime Achievement Award.
Moyers’ books include such bestsellers as Listening to America; The Power of Myth; Healing and the Mind; The Language of Life; Moyers on America: A Journalist and His Times; and Moyers on Democracy. His most recent book, Bill Moyers Journal: The Conversation Continues, was published in May 2011.
With more than 95,000 follows on Twitter, Moyers has taken advantage of the social media platforms to offer ongoing commentary on current events. To follow Moyers on Twitter, please go to twitter.com/billmoyershq. For his Facebook page, go to facebook.com/moyersandcompany.