A Conversation with LeVar Burton

Holt Distinguished Lecture

A Conversation with LeVar Burton

The Dennis F. and Brooks Holt Distinguished Lecture is a speaker’s series established by longtime Price School board of councilor’s member Dennis Holt (founding chairman and CEO of U.S. International Media) and his wife, Brooks.  The Holt programs support prominent practitioners, influential policymakers, and visiting scholars, who come to USC to give lectures, meet with students, faculty members, and the public to discuss issues and research in communication and public policy.

LeVar Burton launched his acting career while still a student at USC. Cast in the groundbreaking role of Kunta Kinte in the landmark television series “Roots,” he found further global acclaim as Geordi La Forge in the iconic TV show and films “Star Trek: The Next Generation.” But his role as host and executive producer of the beloved PBS children’s series “Reading Rainbow” is what he’s most proud of.

Committed to improving children’s education through innovative uses of storytelling, in 2012 Burton launched RRKidz, a digital educational publishing company business partner Mark Wolfe. Reading Rainbow was reimagined to combine technology with the goal of inspiring a new generation of children to love reading and it is now the number one educational app on iTunes and recipient of numerous awards.

Recently, Burton turned to Kickstarter to bring Reading Rainbow to “Every Child, Everywhere” — especially to classrooms in need. The campaign met its goal of raising $1 million in less than 11 hours and became the most popular Kickstarter campaign ever with over 105,000 backers and a final tally of $6.4 million.