By Jonathan Smith, Editor in Chief
The effects of Hurricane Rita hit the university already Thursday, two days before it is expected to hit the Texas coastline, as Lester Holt, anchor for MSNBC, postponed his Thursday speaking engagement in Abilene.
Jennifer Ellison, Centennial activities coordinator, said Holt, scheduled as the university’s first of eight Centennial speakers, contacted the university Thursday morning to inform organizers that he would not be able make it to Abilene because he would be covering the hurricane from Galveston, where the airport has been closed, and no flight was available to bring him to Abilene.
Ellison said the university heard Wednesday that Holt’s plans to come to the university were up in the air, but he had planned to have a plane fly him to Abilene for the 7 p.m. event at the Civic Center.
Amber Peck, director of alumni relations and chair of the Centennial Events Task Force, said many were disappointed to hear Holt had to postpone, but understood the situation.
“His first priority right now is covering Hurricane Rita,” Peck said. “We want him to do that; it’s important for everyone.”
Peck said no one is sure when Holt will be able to reschedule the event in Abilene. She said it would likely be a couple of weeks before news about the hurricane subsides and she would be able to speak with Holt and his agent about scheduling a new date.
Despite the late cancellation, Peck said businesses have been very accommodating so the university will not lose any money because of postponement. These businesses and groups include the Civic Center, florist and caterers and all the money planned for Thursday’s event can be applied to the rescheduled date.
Ticket holders for Thursday’s event will be able to transfer their tickets to the new date. Those who cannot attend on the new date will be able to receive a refund and those wishing to attend will be able to purchase available tickets.
Those interested in more ticketing information can call Ext. 2622.