Acclaimed broadcaster and documentary host Bill Kurtis packs the house at SXU

Acclaimed documentary host and producer, news anchor and rancher Bill Kurtis entertained a standing-room only audience Thursday night at Saint Xavier University when he discussed “The Case against America’s Diet.”

The lecture was part of Saint Xavier’s 2008-09 Squeaky Weal Lecture Series.

Among Kurtis’ many accomplishments, the former CBS Morning News anchor hosted the Peabody Award-winning series The New Explorers, which aired on A&E®, and the long-running Investigative Reports and Cold Case Files®.

In a lecture that was free and open to the public, Kurtis addressed the nation’s increasing obesity and health problems by drawing a direct line between federal subsidies for corn farming and factory farm beef production. As a rancher, active conservationist and supporter of small-town America, Kurtis founded Tallgrass Beef Company in 2005 to champion the environmental and health benefits of grass-fed cattle ranching.

“I don’t really see myself as replacing corn fed beef,” Kurtis said. “I see myself as a guy who is coming in with decaf coffee, with the alternative. So if you want a choice of a Big Mac hamburger, a Quarter Pounder, a cheeseburger, or a healthy grass-fed burger, I think that’s very good. I think they should put it in.”

Sister Joy Clough, R.S.M., of the University’s Office for Mission and Heritage said Saint Xavier was “privileged to welcome Kurtis to campus.”

“Kurtis’ style of thoughtful, open inquiry and marvelous sense of humor delighted a packed house,” Clough said. “It was a perfect example of the kind of social examination we strive to provide with the Squeaky Weal lecture series.”

Saint Xavier’s Squeaky Weal lecture series explores issues of public concern with an emphasis on their religious, moral or ethical implications for the common good. The series is sponsored by the Center for Religion and Public Discourse.

To learn more about the Squeaky Weal lecture series or to learn about its next speaker, Chicago Tribune Columnist Mary Schmich, go to and search key word “Squeaky Weal.”

For more information, please contact the Center for Religion and Public Discourse at (773) 298-3981 or