Don Holt '57 is a true pioneer. As one of the first Wheaton alumni to work in major news media, he blazed a trail that made way for many to follow in his footsteps.
Don’s pinnacle experience came while on the road with the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., reporting for Newsweek during the 1967 civil rights rallies in Chicago.
“We would march down the streets with people screaming at us,” Don says. “We wore construction helmets, but Dr. King did not. There were rocks and bottles flying. At that point, I really got a sense of the raw courage of that man.”
Don’s highlight reel includes interviews with global leaders like Bobby Kennedy, Margaret Thatcher, and Ariel Sharon, as well as with U.S. presidents Ronald Reagan and Jimmy Carter (above). During his multi-decade career at the Chicago Daily News, Newsweek, and Fortune magazine, Don covered presidential campaigns, riots, and the 1973 Arab-Israeli War.
“You get to know some of the people pretty well,” says Don. “It’s a front-row seat to great historical stories that still have meaning in our news items today—as well as for my grandkids and their classmates.”
In 1999, Don retired from full-time journalism and brought his experience and skills “back home” to teach at Wheaton for six years.
“I’ve been much more attuned to managing media inquiries in a crisis because of Don’s instruction,” Don’s former student and current director of media and public relations at XCOR Aerospace, Bryan Campen ’06, says. “He brought experience from the world into the classroom, but he had a certain humility and a real sharpness that you don’t often encounter in the world.”