Dan Rather speaks to students at Sam Houston State University

Native Houstonian and legendary television news anchor Dan Rather spoke to a group of students at his alma mater, Sam Houston State University, Thursday morning. 

Rather was there to promote his New York Times best-selling book, “What Unites Us.” Rather was honest in addressing questions about the current political climate. 

"I do feel this is a very dangerous time. We need to talk seriously with one another and talk across partisan, political, ideological divides, and talk across race, religion and ethnicity," Rather said.  

He also expressed his skepticism with social media -- a powerful tool that the 87-year-old acknowledges as being the key platform in staying relevant but questions its ability to mobilize actual change particularly among young voters ahead of the midterm elections.

"Not all, but many young people are under the view that if you just put a hashtag up on social media that you’ve done your part for the election. Well, a hashtag is not a vote. Not enough to hashtag, not enough to put up your feelings, outrage, concerns about things. In our system, the ballot box is all," Rather said. 

Students awed by his long tenure as one of the most successful and iconic journalists of our time, said they were mostly inspired by his humility.

"It's inspiring to see someone actually come out of Huntsville with a success story because a lot of times you don’t see that. I’ve always looked at him as an inspiration," said SHSU senior Jamie Barnes. 

"Yes, he’s opinionated. Yes, there’s always controversy in news, but it’s the way he’s handled it. It's the way he kinda delegates through, that’s what keeps you in the field for this long. There aren't that many people that you can look at and say he’s been in the field for as long as Mr. Rather has," said SHSU senior Tyler Josefsen.

Rather's advice to young, aspiring journalists is to always stay hungry and curious, and to seek to report on the underside of society.