BISMARCK â€“ Journalists Bob Schieffer and Dan Rather are coming to North Dakota to honor a Velva native deemed â€œone of the countryâ€™s most respected reporters and commentatorsâ€ by The New York Times.
â€œNot So Wild a Dream: The Legacy of Eric Sevareid,â€ a public humanities symposium, will run from Sept. 30 to Oct. 3 at Bismarck State College.
Various speakers will give presentations during the day about journalism, history and Sevareidâ€™s career. Schieffer, Rather and Nick Clooney are keynote speakers in the evenings at Bismarckâ€™s Belle Mehus Auditorium, 201 N. 6th St.
Sevareid worked for CBS News from 1939 to 1977, covering major world events and later serving as a regular commentator on â€œCBS EveÂning Newsâ€ with Walter Cronkite. He died in 1992.
The idea for the symposium came from Brenna Daugherty, executive director of the North Dakota Humanities Council.
After moving back to North Dakota from the East Coast, Daugherty was trying to immerse herself in North Dakota culture.
She picked up a copy of â€œNot So Wild a Dream,â€ one of Sevareidâ€™s books, and â€œwas just blown away by it.â€ After further researching Sevareid and his role in American history, she decided there should be an event in his honor.
â€œWeâ€™re looking at â€“ in 2012 â€“ the 100th anniversary of his birth,â€ Daugherty said. â€œI thought this would be a perfect time to revisit Eric and to celebrate Eric.â€
Sevareidâ€™s widow, Suzanne St. Pierre, said sheâ€™s looking forward to attending the event.
â€œI am so pleased and honored by it,â€ said St. Pierre, who now lives in Massachusetts. â€œEric would have been just somewhat incredulous to be remembered after all of these years.â€
She said her husband loved Velva and was grateful for the values he acquired living there. Sheâ€™s looking forward to what all of the speakers will share at the symposium.
â€œI think Iâ€™m going to learn some things while Iâ€™m there as well,â€ she said.
Sevareid was born in Velva in 1912. He and his family moved to Minnesota in 1925 after tough financial times. He attended the University of Minnesota and then worked as a reporter for the Paris edition of the New York Herald Tribune.
In 1939, Edward R. Murrow recruited Sevareid to join CBS, where he worked for the next 38 years covering World War II, Joseph McCarthy, Adlai Stevenson, presidential elections and other key moments in history.
His nightly news commentary made him â€œan in-house wise man and gray eminence of CBS News, and a voice of reason, orthodoxy and enlightened common sense,â€ The Washington Post wrote after his death.
During the symposium, National Press Club President Alan Bjerga will discuss Sevareidâ€™s relevance for younger journalists working in traditional and newer forms of media today.
The symposium is â€œa really exciting opportunity to examine the legacy of a North Dakota journalist who made such an impact in the world,â€ said Bjerga, who graduated from Concordia College in Moorhead.
â€œJust the quality of the speakers that they have and the folks that are coming out â€“ itâ€™s a real tribute to Eric Sevareid and just the feelings that people still have so many years later about what a giant figure he was in American journalism,â€ Bjerga said.