ACU Features 'Faith, Excellence in the Media and American Society'

Abilene Christian University's Centennial Speaker Series drew a large audience on Thursday to hear an award winning broadcast journalist speak on "Faith and Excellence in the Media and American Society."

Part of the institution's nearly year-long centennial celebration for 2006, the series, which began in September, featured MSNBC anchor Lester Holt as its third speaker.

"When people ask what I appreciate most about what I do, I tell them it’s the insight into how fragile life is … I see life turn on a dime," said Holt Thursday night.

He further explained the influence of his work on his perspective. "I see tragic and sudden death. I see sudden and joyous triumph. I see the mighty fall; the humble become a roaring lion. It’s an amazing vantage point on life."

Holt has covered major news events such as Operation Iraqi Freedom and the war in Afghanistan, and most recently, reported live from the U.S. Gulf Coast on the aftermath of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita. He had originally been scheduled as the first to speak in the centennial speaker series, but the landfall of Hurricane Rita delayed his slated date to December.

"More often than not, I see things not unlike Katrina that force people to take stock of what they have and what really matters. And inevitably, what really matters has nothing to do with what seems important to us now. This job is a continuous series of humility checks," he continued.

Providing an outlook on the issue of faith and the media as a Christian media representative from the national level, Holt testified to the inevitable role that faith and religion has taken in society.

"Increasingly, faith is becoming a part of the national conversation, and we can't ignore it," he said. "Faith and the influence of the faithful is a huge news story."

ACU's centennial celebration, themed "Call to Faith and Excellence," began Aug. 22, 2005 and will conclude with a birthday celebration on Sept. 11, 2006. ACU is a national leader in Christian higher education with 4,700 students from around the world.

Upcoming speakers in the Centennial Speaker Series include Kathleen Norris, Feb. 27; Dr. Stephen Carter, March 30; Robin Roberts, Apr. 8; Dr. Jean Bethke Elshtain, Apr. 20; and Dr. John Maxwell, Apr. 25.