I got an interesting email the other day from a fellow some of you will remember as Obsolete Technology Guy, otherwise known as Phillip Walters, ’76.
I’ll let him tell it:
This article http://www.nytimes.com/2014/02/22/business/garrick-utley-former-nbc-anchor-and-foreign-correspondent-dies-at-74.html?_r=1 caused me to write to you. Mr. Utley was not a Rice Alum, but there is a tie in to Rice.
On January 15, 1976 Garrick Utley was visiting Rice along with NBC correspondents Carole Simpson, Irving R. Levine, Richard Valeriani, Steve Delaney and Tom Pettit. They participated in a “World Events Seminar” moderated by Ray Miller, KPRC-TV’s News Director. There were two sessions, one for the students, and one for the faculty and donors, separated by a press conference. KPRC graciously allowed KTRU to broadcast the sound portion on the evening event, and I was in KPRC’s truck connecting a feed to the KTRU studio. I had just finished when Ray stuck his head in the truck and asked “Is there a quiet place where I can take these folks for a break and a beer?”. So, I checked downstairs and found Tina Garfield in the Willy’s Pub office and she was quite happy to open the pub and provide a pitcher or two of beer and some munchies. So, Tina and I found ourselves sitting with these folks on the couches in the raised area of the old Pub as they told stories, and jokes, mostly not fit for broadcast. Somewhere in all of that, Mr. Utley mentioned he had started in radio and asked where the studios were. When I told him they were on the other side of the wall, he immediately got up and asked for a tour. Mr. Utley is an imposing man at 6’6” and was a head taller than me. When the tour got to the news room, KTRU news director Lee Hochberg was training some new news department volunteers, and his back was to the door. His trainees were completely distracted by our entrance, and Lee turned around with a somewhat irritated look, and saw me first and then saw Mr. Utley’s head above mine, and sort of just stopped talking for a moment. Mr. Utley with his usual grace said something like, “Please continue, I’m interested in what you have to say”. It was quite the day.
There’s a nice Thresher article about the event with the correspondents. Because the 1976 version fits neatly on my scanner, here–as a special treat for all–are two full pages: