CWU News

‘The Politics of Beauty’ Will be Screened November 30 in the SURC Theater

Promotional graphic for "The Politics of Beauty"

CWU will screen "Stewart Udall: The Politics of Beauty" on Wednesday, November 30, at 6:30 p.m. in the SURC Theater.

Mark your calendars for Wednesday, November 30, when Central Washington University will welcome the director of Stewart Udall: The Politics of Beauty for a screening and question-and-answer session.

Beginning at 6:30 p.m. in the SURC Theatre, award-winning PBS director John de Graaf will discuss the new documentary celebrating the work and legacy of former U.S. Interior Secretary Stewart L. Udall. The film follows the trajectory of Udall’s remarkable life from his childhood in a Mormon ranching family in St. Johns, Arizona, to his final 20 years as a writer in Santa Fe, New Mexico.

Udall is considered by many as the most effective environmentalist in American history. He fought tirelessly for the protection of the planet, and he was the first public official to speak out against global warming. But, until now, a documentary about his life and accomplishments has never been made.

The 78-minute film features interviews with former U.S. Senator Tom Udall (N.M.), current Interior Secretary Deb Haaland, former Secretary Bruce Babbitt, former U.S. Senator Gordon Smith (Oregon), Navajo artist Shonto Begay, former National Park Service director Robert Stanton, presidential historian Douglas Brinkley, and many others.

“I’ve wanted to tell Stew Udall’s story since I first interviewed him back in 1988,” de Graaf said. “In making this film, I discovered just how relevant his life story and work are to all of the crucial issues we face today—from global warming to racial and environmental justice to world peace. Stewart Udall tried to bring people together across political lines—another message we need now more than ever.”

During Udall’s time at Interior, he pushed legislation through Congress that mandated clean air and water, preservation of wilderness areas, restrictions on pesticides, reclamation of strip mining, and the establishment of Wild and Scenic Rivers and National Trails systems. He also changed the Bureau of Indian Affairs to provide greater self-determination for Native tribes and was a champion of arts and culture.

After working for the Department of the Interior, Udall fought actively for the cancer victims of fallout from atomic testing and from uranium mining to receive compensation. He spent his final days in Santa Fe, completing nine books and publishing countless articles, beginning with his 1963 best-seller, The Quiet Crisis.

The November 30 screening of The Politics of Beauty—part of Central’s Storytelling for Identity and Belonging Series—is made possible by support from the College of Arts and Humanities, the CWU English Department, CWU Liberal Studies Program, and CWU Libraries.

Media contact: Xavier Cavazos at