Presidential biographer reflects on lives of Theodore Roosevelt, Ronald Reagan at HPU lecture

morris_lectures_for_webBROWNWOOD – February 14, 2013 – Edmund Morris, a Pulitzer Prize-winning author and well-known presidential biographer, addressed area residents, students, faculty, staff and board members at a lecture held on Howard Payne University’s campus Monday.

Morris spent several years as President Ronald Reagan’s official biographer and is the author of The New York Times bestseller Dutch: A Memoir of Ronald Reagan.

Morris described Reagan as reserved in one-on-one situations and animated in front of a crowd. He went on to call Reagan a “consummate actor” with a strong moral code.

The speaker also noted the parallels between the presidencies of Reagan and Theodore Roosevelt, whom he also considered a great showman. Morris’ book The Rise of Theodore Roosevelt, the first in a trilogy, won the Pulitzer Prize and National Book Award.

“It was a great privilege to have a prominent historian of Mr. Morris’ stature address Howard Payne University students, faculty and staff, as well as area high school students,” said Dr. Justin D. Murphy, Brand professor of history, dean of the School of Humanities and director of HPU’s Academy of Freedom honors program. “This was truly a once-in-a-lifetime event that will be remembered by all.”

A frequent guest commentator on television and radio programs, Morris was born and educated in Kenya and immigrated to the United States in 1968. He has authored several books throughout his career and extensively written on the topics of literature and music for such publications as The New Yorker, The New York Times and Harper’s Magazine. His television appearances include a two-part profile segment on 60 Minutes. Among other elite venues, he has lectured at Harvard, Princeton and Brown universities.

In addition to HPU students, approximately 100 students and sponsors from local and area high schools were in attendance. Students represented Brownwood, Dublin Premier, Granbury, Lampasas, Panther Creek and Richland Spring high schools and Brownwood’s Victory Life Academy. Prospective Academy of Freedom students from around the state were also in attendance. These high school students and HPU’s Academy of Freedom students received complimentary, autographed copies of Dutch: A Memoir of Ronald Reagan and attended a luncheon before the lecture.

“Howard Payne was thrilled to give these students the opportunity to interact with Mr. Morris,” said Kevin Kirk, associate vice president for enrollment management. “This experience allowed the students to see the level of world-class educational opportunities that are available at HPU.”morris_signs_book_for_web

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Photo cutlines: Edmund Morris discusses the presidencies of Theodore Roosevelt and Ronald Reagan at a lecture held on the HPU campus.

Edmund Morris signs a copy of his book Dutch: A Memoir of Ronald Reagan for HPU Academy of Freedom student Lauraleticia Alvarado of Early.