February 28, 2017

When CNN political analyst David Gregory was just 15 years old, his mother was arrested for driving drunk, while he watched.

Despite being raised in an interfaith home—his mother is Irish Catholic, his father was Jewish—Gregory said it was the absence of faith that was so remarkable.

“There was no one and nothing in my life that gave me the sense that everything was going to be OK,” Gregory said last night during the Alice Pope Shade Lecture, during which he discussed his 2015 book, How’s Your Faith: An Unlikely Spiritual Journey.

In spite of a rough beginning, Gregory enjoyed a comparatively smooth rise through the ranks of journalism, starting his career as a student at American University, Washington, D.C. After eight years as NBC’s correspondent to the George W. Bush White House, Gregory took the helm of Meet the Press.

“I thought it was always the way it was going to be,” he said.

His auspicious beginning came to an abrupt end when, after six years, Gregory was replaced. The move marked the end of his 20 years with the network. But, he said, it also presented him with an opportunity to humble himself.

“The process of being humbled, of being brought low,” he said, “is a great gift. It removes all of the other clutter.”

How’s Your Faith chronicles his search for his Jewish identity and spiritual grounding for himself and his family. The answers were not easy to come by, and the journey continues, he said. However, he imparted some universal lessons.

“Life isn’t a straight path. It undulates. It goes up and down. You have success and you have failure. You feel joy and you feel pain,” he said. “Part of the calling is to have enough awareness outside of yourself to look past your own best interests and realize that doing work you enjoy, teamwork, these are ends in and of themselves. That is an epiphany that matters.”

Susquehanna’s annual Shade lecture is made possible by the Alice Pope Shade Fund, established in 1983 by her daughter, Rebecca Shade ’54 Mignot, to bring nationally and internationally renowned religious scholars and leaders to campus.