MISSOULA – A Pulitzer Prize- and Emmy Award-winning journalist will visit the University of Montana as the final featured speaker of the 2015-16 President’s Lecture Series.
Hedrick Smith, an author and former reporter for The New York Times and producer/correspondent of PBS’ “Frontline,” will present “Who Stole the American Dream?” at 8 p.m. Thursday, April 28, in UM’s Dennison Theatre. The lecture is the Lucile Speer Memorial Lecture held in collaboration with the Phi Beta Kappa Association of Montana.
Smith also will lead the seminar “Can We Reclaim the American Dream?” from 3:40 to 5 p.m. the same day in Gallagher Business Building Room 123 in collaboration with the UM Philosophy Forum. The lecture and seminar both are free and open to the public.
After graduating from Williams College and doing graduate work at Oxford University, Smith joined the United Press International in 1959. For the following three years he worked as a journalist in Memphis and Nashville, Tennessee, and Atlanta.
As a New York Times reporter, Smith covered Martin Luther King Jr. and the civil rights struggle, the Vietnam War from Saigon, the Middle East conflict from Cairo, the Cold War from both Moscow and Washington, D.C., and six presidential administrations.
In 1971, as chief diplomatic correspondent, he was a member of the Pulitzer Prize-winning team that produced the Pentagon Papers. In 1974, he won the Pulitzer Prize for International Reporting from Russia and Eastern Europe. “The Russians,” his book based on the years he spent in the Soviet Union as The New York Times bureau chief from 1971 to 1974, became a No. 1 best-seller. His next book released in 1987, “The Power Game: How Washington Works,” became another major best-seller.
Since 1989, Smith has created 26 specials and miniseries for PBS covering such varied topics as terrorism, Wall Street, Soviet perestroika, Wal-Mart, Enron, tax evasion, educational reform, health care, the environment, jazz and Washington, D.C., power structures.
His programs have won Emmy awards and the Columbia-Dupont Gold Baton, or grand prize, for the year’s best public affairs program on U.S. television. Along with the George Polk, George Peabody and Sidney Helman awards for excellence in reporting, his programs have won two national public service awards from journalism’s Sigma Delta Chi. His television work also includes longtime stints as a panelist on “Washington Week in Review” and as a special correspondent for “The NewsHour with Jim Lehrer.”
Smith’s current best-selling book “Who Stole the American Dream?” has been praised by reviewers for its analysis of the forces shaping contemporary political and economic trends with their self-evident threat to the long-term prosperity and stability of the country.
The President’s Lecture Series at UM consists of eight talks throughout the academic year on vital topics by distinguished guest speakers. For more information on the series, visit http://umt.edu/president/events/lectures/ or call UM history Professor Richard Drake at 406-243-2981.