Daniel Irvin "Dan" Rather, Jr. (born October 31, 1931) is an American journalist who is the former news anchor for the CBS Evening News. He is now managing editor and anchor of a television news magazine, Dan Rather Reports, on the cable channel HDNet. Rather was anchor of the CBS Evening News for 24 years, from March 9, 1981, to March 9, 2005. He also contributed to CBS' 60 Minutes. Rather became embroiled in controversy about a disputed news report involving the 2004 U.S. Presidential Election and subsequently left CBS Evening News in 2005 and left the network altogether after 43 years in 2006.
Daniel Irvin Rather Jr. was born on October 31, 1931, in Wharton, Wharton County, Texas, the son of Daniel Irvin Rather, Sr., and the former Byrl Veda Page. The Rathers moved to Houston, and Dan attended Love Elementary School and Hamilton Middle School. He graduated in 1949 from John H. Reagan High School in Houston. In 1953, he received a bachelor's degree in journalism from Sam Houston State University where he was editor of the school newspaper, The Houstonian. At Sam Houston, he was a member of the Caballeros, which was the founding organization of the currently active Epsilon Psi chapter of the Sigma Chi fraternity. In 1954, Rather enlisted in the United States Marine Corps, but failed to complete recruit training because of his childhood bout with rheumatic fever. After obtaining his undergraduate degree, Rather briefly attended South Texas College of Law in Houston, which later awarded him an honorary Juris Doctor in 1990.
Rather began his journalism career in 1950 as an Associated Press reporter in Huntsville, Texas. Later, he was a reporter for United Press (1950–1952), several Texas radio stations, and the Houston Chronicle (1954–1955). While at Sam Houston State, Rather worked for KSAM-FM radio in Huntsville, Texas calling junior high, high school, and Sam Houston State football games. He later spent four seasons as the play-by-play announcer for the University of Houston football team. During the 1959 minor league baseball season, Rather was the play-by-play radio announcer for the Houston Buffs team of the triple A American Association. In 1959, he began his television career as a reporter for KTRK-TV in Houston. Rather was promoted to the director of news for KHOU-TV, the CBS affiliate in Houston. Ray Miller, news director of KPRC-TV, the NBC affiliate in Houston, also mentored Rather in the early years.