Howard University announces award-winning journalist Lester Holt will deliver the keynote address during the 151st Opening Convocation on Friday, Sept. 21 in Cramton Auditorium. Holt is anchor of the network’s flagship broadcast “NBC Nightly News with Lester Holt” and “Dateline.”
“We are delighted to have Mr. Lester Holt serve as the Opening Convocation speaker, particularly during this season when the need for journalism is so important in our society,” says President Wayne A. I. Frederick. “Mr. Holt’s vast experience reporting the news in a fair and balanced manner has set him as an example for times like these.”
Howard University’s Opening Convocation is a time-honored tradition that officially signals the beginning of the academic year. Holt’s Opening Convocation address is an opportunity to welcome the Class of 2022 to the 2018-2019 school year and acknowledge recent achievements of the university.
Holt is the first African-American to serve as the solo anchor of a weekday evening newscast on any major network. Holt was named to the role of “NBC Nightly News” anchor in June 2015 after eight years as anchor of “NBC Nightly News” weekend editions and 12 years as co-anchor of “Weekend TODAY.” Holt also leads NBC News’ special reports, breaking news, primetime political coverage, and anchors “Dateline NBC,” which soon begins its 27th season.
Holt joined NBC News in 2000 and is known for his outstanding work in the field, reporting and anchoring from breaking news events across the globe. He is currently on the ground in North Carolina leading NBC News’ coverage of Hurricane Florence and its aftermath. Holt was selected to moderate the first presidential debate of 2016, notably the most-watched debate in American history. In January 2017, he traveled with President Obama on the Commander in Chief’s final trip aboard Air Force One, for an in-depth interview in Chicago. Later that year, he spoke with President Trump days after the president fired FBI Director James Comey in an interview that continues to be frequently cited to this day.
Holt’s work has been recognized with numerous honors, including multiple Emmy Awards and a Robert F. Kennedy Journalism award. In June of this year, the Los Angeles Press Club honored Holt with the Joseph M. Quinn Lifetime Achievement Award. In April 2016, Holt received several other notable designations: he was featured on TIME’s 100 Most Influential People list, The Hollywood Reporter’s Most Powerful People in New York list and was named “Journalist of the Year” by the National Association of Black Journalists.