After an hour of laughs and chatter with some serious talk, Bob Schieffer silenced the audience at the 11th annual symposium that bears his name.
“Because that was where it all started for me, I wanted this to be the place, and I wanted you all to be the first to know that this summer I’m going to retire,” Schieffer said.
Schieffer, a TCU alum, recounted his 58-year career, acknowledging and personally thanking in some cases the people who helped his career along the way.
“I’ve had a lot of help along the way,” Schieffer said with teary eyes.
Schieffer will retire at the end of May.
Schieffer said he plans to take the summer off to travel and to think about his future.
“Mainly, I just want to rest a little bit,” Schieffer, 78, said. “Most people retire at 65, and after I was 65 I moderated three presidential campaigns, wrote three books, and anchored the evening news for two years.”
When he finished his remarks, Schieffer received a standing ovation.
“I think it’s a monumental announcement in that, while nobody is irreplaceable, Bob Schieffer comes awfully close,” said TCU Chancellor Victor Boschini in an email. “He is universally viewed as the most trusted source for news in America at this time.”
Schieffer, whose voice cracked with emotion at times, spoke about the highlights of his career.
He was a night cops reporter at the Fort Worth Star-Telegram when President Kennedy was shot. He gave Lee Harvey Oswald’s mother a ride to Dallas, because she called the newsroom believing the police had arrested her son. He has since interviewed every president since Nixon.
Schieffer has covered all four of Washington’s major beats: the Pentagon, White House, Congress, and the State Department.
Despite Schieffer’s retirement announcement, he kept trying to turn the conversation and focus towards the panelists.
“You buried the lede!” Gayle King, co-host of CBS This Morning, said to Schieffer after the symposium. “I’m not thinking about the panel. Talk about burying the lede! You buried the lede!”
Schieffer said that he had decided last year he was going to retire at this time. He said he knew what he was going to do, and what he was going to say.
“Here too of all places, which makes it even better—which makes it more special that it was here,” King said. “Because you’re with your peeps.”
Schieffer said he might write another book following his summer hiatus, but he isn’t sure.
“I don’t know what I’m going to do,” Schieffer said. “But I know I’ll be busy.”
With his new-found free time, will TCU students see him around campus more often?
“I’ll probably be back a couple times doing things,” Schieffer said. “We’ll see.”