RICHARDSON, Texas (Aug. 8, 2005) — The 2005 McDermott Library-UTD Mercury Writers Series of lectures will feature two veteran, but distinctly different journalists – Martha Boone Mattia and William “Bill” Mercer. Both lectures are free and open to the public and will be held in the auditorium (MC 2.410) of the McDermott Library on the University of Texas at Dallas campus.
Mattia, who believes that her background as a journalist, public relations executive and expatriate has provided her with a “unique and unbiased” perspective as an interviewer, will discuss her book, Conversations with George Bush: Beyond Polls and Partisanship: Real Life in the USA, from 3:30 to 4:45 p.m. on Wednesday, Aug. 24.
Mercer will speak from 3:30 to 4:45 p.m. on Wednesday, Oct. 12. His topic will be When the News Went Live: Dallas 1963, the title of a book he co-authored with Bob Huffaker, George Phenix and Wes Wise about local media coverage of the Kennedy assassination.
Mattia spent much of her early life traveling with her family or husband in foreign countries. She was always curious about Americans, and the events of Sept. 11, 2001, intensified a desire to know more about what “being an American” means. She spent more than two years identifying and interviewing people named George Bush from Alaska to Maine. Most of the book was written in a Plano, Texas, coffee house.
Her book has received several positive reviews and a note from former President George Bush in appreciation for the copy he received. Mattia says it is not a political book but that she included questions about current events when doing her interviews.
The book includes ordinary life descriptions by a Mississippi doctor, a Florida accountant, a Texas health care worker, a New York artist and some women named Georgina and Georgette Bush.
Although much of Mercer’s fame has resulted from his work as a sportscaster and wrestling announcer, he found himself covering the Kennedy assassination and the surrounding events in 1963. The book written with his colleagues explains what it was like to be a journalist during that hectic time and how the news business changed forever.
Co-author Wise went on to become the mayor of Dallas in the early 1970’s.
In 2002, Mercer became a charter member of the Texas Radio Hall of Fame. He worked at KRLD radio-TV in sports and news from 1953 to 1964 and at KVIL radio in sports from 1976-83. He was the radio play-by-play announcer for University of North Texas football and basketball from 1959 to 1994.
Mercer received a master’s degree at North Texas in 1966, the same year he joined the Radio-TV faculty. He has been there part-time ever since and currently teaches two nights a week. He was inducted into the UNT Athletic Hall of Fame in 1990.
Besides gaining fame as a wrestling announcer, Mercer has been the “voice” of the Dallas Cowboys, Texas Rangers, the Cotton Bowl and the Chicago White Sox. He was at the famous 1967 “Ice Bowl” game between Dallas and Green Bay.
Mercer is working on another book about the development of broadcasting in sports.
The University of Texas at Dallas, located at the convergence of Richardson, Plano and Dallas in the heart of the complex of major multinational technology corporations known as the Telecom Corridor®, enrolls more than 14,000 students. The school’s freshman class traditionally stands at the forefront of Texas state universities in terms of average SAT scores. The university offers a broad assortment of bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degree programs. For additional information about UTD, please visit the university’s web site at www.utdallas.edu.