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President Holland A Featured Scholar In PBS’ ‘First Freedom’ Documentary To Air Nationwide Dec. 18

17 December 2012 One Comment

December 14, 2012
For Immediate Release

University Marketing & Communications: Mike Rigert (801) 863-6807
Written by: Mike Rigert (801) 863-6807

Utah Valley University President Matthew S. Holland, a noted scholar in the field of early American political thought, will be featured, along with several other prominent academic experts, in the PBS documentary, “First Freedom: The Fight for Religious Liberty” that airs nationally on Dec. 18.

“First Freedom,” made by award-winning filmmaker Lee Groberg and based on the book by Randall Balmer, charts the development of religious liberty in America, from the pilgrims to the Bill of Rights. It also looks at the religious beliefs of the nation’s founders and chronicles how one of the most basic of human freedoms — freedom of conscience —was codified into law for the first time in world history.

The 90-minute documentary will air in Utah Tuesday on KUED at 7 p.m.

In addition to President Holland, the film includes expert commentary from Douglas Brinkley, project scriptwriter and professor of history at Rice University; John Hope Franklin, author of “From Slavery to Freedom: A History of Negro Americans,” and a professor emeritus at Duke University; Jon Meacham, former editor-in-chief of Newsweek Magazine and a Pulitzer Prize-winning author; and Cokie Roberts, senior news analyst for NPR News and a longtime congressional correspondent and political commentator.

“To be a part of this enormous undertaking that so succinctly conveys the story the development of religious liberty in America was an honor and treat for me,” President Holland said. “This project is something that is highly important with respect to understanding and appreciating American heritage and culture. My hope is that viewers will glean a sense of how the freedoms we enjoy today are a product of extraordinary efforts on the part of our forbearers.”

Prior to his selection as UVU’s sixth president in 2008, Holland was an associate professor of political science at BYU, where he taught courses in political philosophy and the U.S. political heritage. His scholarly research on how ideals of Christian charity influenced the development of American political life garnered national attention. In 2005, he won Princeton’s University’s James Madison Fellowship, and in 2007, his book, “Bonds of Affection: Civic Charity and the Making of America,” was published by Georgetown University Press.

Holland’s involvement in the “First Freedom” project is one of several initiatives recently undertaken at UVU as part of the institution’s growing emphasis in constitutional studies. In November, UVU’s Center for Constitutional Studies, the first of its kind in the Intermountain U.S, hosted the Utah public premiere of “First Freedom.” The center, established in 2011, is a non-partisan academic institute that promotes instruction, study and research of constitutionalism, and presents a valuable resource for students and the community.

From the PBS documentary, “First Freedom: The Fight for Religious Liberty,” UVU President Matthew S. Holland. Courtesy Groberg Films


About UVU

Utah Valley University is located in Orem, Utah and is home to more than 30,000 students. UVU began as a vocational school during World War II, and in the seven decades since has evolved into a technical school, community school, state college and, finally a comprehensive regional teaching university. UVU is one of Utah’s largest institutions of higher learning and offers programs ranging from career training to high-demand master degrees, with emphasis on undergraduate education.

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One Comment »

  • Karen Janson said:

    I have been away from Utah for 6 years. Now residing in Provo and searching for new ideas in my education, I am impressed with the direction of UVU and its new president. I love the New PBS documentary titled “First Freedom” and President Holland’s involvement in its making. I am excited to view the courses UVU may have to help me advance my knowledge and my addition to good works in this society.

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