US journalist killed in Ukraine graduated from SMU – NBC 5 Dallas-Fort Worth
A Fox News reporter is in critical condition after being injured in Ukraine, just days after the death of US journalist Brent Renaud.
Fox News confirms that Benjamin Hall was injured while reporting on the Russian invasion just outside kyiv.
This, as we learn more about Brent Renaud and his ties to North Texas.
The Arkansas native is a graduate of Southern Methodist University which mentored at-risk children in Dallas.
Before a distinguished career in journalism and film full of honors, including a Peabody Award in 2015 for the Vice News documentary “Last Chance High”, Brent Renaud was an English student at SMU.
Renaud lived in what was then the university’s collaborative program with Dallas Habitat for Humanity called “Inter-Community Experience” or ICE House.
The program was a “service-learning opportunity for students,” according to SMU spokeswoman Kimberly Cobb. ‘[Renaud] was one of four students who lived in the house year-round, offered free classes and programs to neighborhood children, and also volunteered in the community.
“It was a program that worked with at-risk children and their families in what was then an at-risk neighborhood in Dallas called Garrett Park East, which is now the lowest in Greenville,” the head teacher at SMU told the English department, Dr. Bruce Levy. became program director in 1993.
Renaud graduated from SMU in 1994 with a major in English and a minor in sociology, according to Cobb.
He then made reports and documentary films across the country and the world, most recently near kyiv, Ukraine.
Renaud was in the war-torn country documenting the global refugee crisis for Time Magazine when he was shot over the weekend, according to NBC News.
The State Department confirmed his death on Sunday after Ukrainian authorities announced he was found dead amid heavy Russian shelling.
NBC News has not independently verified this account, however.
“My jaw dropped. I couldn’t believe it,” Levy said. “It’s just devastating. I know a lot of people who are in shock today.
Levy said it was Renaud who taught him the ropes of the tutoring program when Levy became principal.
“What I remember of Brent is that he was deeply committed to the cause,” he said. “He was definitely ahead of the curve when it came to reaching out and connecting SMU with the Dallas community.”
At times, the private university was “a bubble,” disconnected from the realities of disadvantaged families living a few miles away, Levy said.
Renaud was not.
“He was really involved in the neighborhood. He was there all the time and he was very involved in the lives of the kids and the families in the neighborhood,” he said. “[He was] just a regular down to earth guy that the kids adored. Because they knew he loved them.
Renault is remembered as a compassionate storyteller who made an impression on many people.
In 2019, the Little Rock, Arkansas native was a ‘Distinguished Visiting Professor’ at the University of Arkansas. The Fulbright College of Arts and Sciences tweeted that Renaud “will be greatly missed by all whose lives he touched”. Our hearts and thoughts go out to his family, friends and the journalists around the world who witness and report on our world’s story as it unfolds.
“He was a very talented guy and he was brave,” Levy said. “He was fearless.”
Renaud’s family could not be reached for comment.
On Monday, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy released a statement offering his condolences to Renaud’s family saying he “lost his life documenting the cruelty and harm inflicted on the Ukrainian people by Russia.” Adding: “May Brent’s life and sacrifice inspire the world to fight for the forces of light against the forces of darkness.”