Original ‘Blue’s Clues’ host to speak at WT

Who’s headlining West Texas A&M University’s major Distinguished Lecture Series event for the spring? Here’s a clue. (A clue! A clue!) 

Steve Burns, the original host of “Blue’s Clues,” will speak at 7 p.m. April 5 in the Jack B. Kelley Legacy Hall at West Texas A&M University, co-hosted by the Office of Student Engagement, Enrollment and Success.

Admission is free, and seating is available on a first-come, first-served basis. The speech will be livestreamed; more information will be released closer to the event.   

Burns hosted the long-running children's television program from 1996 to 2002, garnering an Emmy nomination during his run.

“Bringing speakers to campus is always a way to engage in conversations as a community, and it gives our students an opportunity to interact with thought leaders across the country,” said Mike Knox, vice president for student engagement, enrollment, and success. “We are especially pleased to have Steve Burns, who will be familiar to people of all ages and backgrounds."

Being responsive to the needs of a diverse campus community is a key goal of the University’s long-range plan, WT 125: From the Panhandle to the World.

That plan is fueled by the historic, $125 million One West comprehensive fundraising campaign.

In addition to serving as the host of “Blue’s Clues,” Burns served as a frequent writer, director and producer for the reboot “Blue's Clues and You.”

“Steve was a personality that many of our students grew up with,” Knox said. “‘Blue’s Clues’ was a staple growing up for this generation, and it was a groundbreaking style of children’s programming, similar to ‘Sesame Street’ for the previous generation. Steve has a personal story to tell about his own educational and professional experience that I think will resonate with students."

Burns also collaborated with Grammy Award-winners The Flaming Lips and wrote and performed the theme song for “Young Sheldon.”

“I grew up watching ‘Blue's Clues’ and I have seen Steve Burns go to other universities and give a great talk,” said Bryan Garcia, student body president. “I think it will be really cool for students to see someone they remember from their childhood come and talk to them as young adults.”

Burns will discuss the successes and failures he experienced after he left the television show, as well as re-examining messages of empowerment he began sharing 25 years ago.

“​Steve Burns is an iconic influential figure in children’s programming, beloved by children across generations thanks to the digital age,” said Dr. Kristina Drumheller, head of the Department of Communication. “His viral message to his fans during the pandemic was heartwarming and nostalgic, hitting just the right notes for all who loved him on ‘Blue’s Clues.’ I hope students will feel a sense of rejuvenation as they remember their childhood of clue seeking with Steve and Blue.”

Along with DLS, the Department of Communication will co-host a Q&A session for students to learn industry insights from Burns related to working in television, film and music.

“Steve has a great message, and he has a presence about him that will get students to listen! He will be talking about topics like leadership, mental health, and community, which are big for college students,” Garcia said. “Steve Burns coming to WT is a great way to show our students we know what they want to see and that we will go get it for them. I think it will have a great turnout and will set itself apart from other events we've had so far this year.”

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