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Sam Holt

(Alabama & Christ Church 1958) (18 January 1936 - 11 October 2023)

Samuel Clark Oliver Holt, a former radio and television executive who made significant contributions to public broadcasting.

Sam Holt was born January 18, 1936, in Birmingham, AL. He graduated from Episcopal High School in 1953 and Princeton University in 1958, after taking a year off to work for CBS News in New York. From there he went to Oxford as a Rhodes Scholar; he later remembered his three years there, at Christ Church college, as among the best of his life. Sam was in ROTC while at Princeton and after returning from England in 1961, he served in the Army as an artillery officer, stationed at Fort Sill, OK. He was honorably discharged as a captain in 1963 but remained in the Army Reserve until 1970. After finishing his active military duty, he taught for a year at Southern Methodist University, then attended Harvard University for graduate work in history.

In 1970, Sam married Jane Elliott Mansfield, whom he had met in Cambridge, and moved to Washington to work for the Public Broadcasting Service. As the first programming director at PBS, Sam helped create programs including "Masterpiece Theater" and "The MacNeil-Lehrer Report" (now "PBS Newshour"). In 1977 he joined NPR as Senior Vice President for Programming and helped launch programs such as "Morning Edition." He directed NPR's programming until 1982. The following year he won the Edward R. Murrow Award from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting. The Samuel C.O. Holt papers, related to his years in public broad-casting, are housed in the archival collections at the University of Maryland.

After leaving NPR, Sam continued his career as a media and broadcasting consultant; over the years, he worked for HBO, Discovery, and WorldSpace (the former satellite radio company). A devout Episcopalian, Sam served as an acolyte for many years and was a member of the vestry of Christ Church, Georgetown. In recent years, he attended services at St. David's in Washington and St. Andrew's in Boca Grande, FL. He cherished his memberships in the Cosmos Club and the Literary Society of Washington, as well as in "Leo," a book club that has met regularly since he and a handful of other men founded it in 1975.

Read the full obituary here