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The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

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Bush School hosts events for 25th anniversary

The+George+Bush+Library+and+Museum+on+Sunday%2C+Sep.+4%2C+2022.
Photo by Cade Gossett

The George Bush Library and Museum on Sunday, Sep. 4, 2022.

Editor’s Note: This article has been updated since initial publication to correct missing information.

In honor of its 25th anniversary, the Bush School of Government and Public Service will host events for students from Sept. 6-10 as part of its year-long celebration.

The events will feature a series of “The 41 I Knew” lunchtime talks with former colleagues and associates of the late former president George H.W. Bush. The school will also host a private ceremony dedicated to “Ride Home,” a 16-foot long painting depicting Bush’s funeral train. America’s VetDogs CEO John Miller will be at the Bush Library with Bush’s service dog, Sully, and Reveille. John Cronin and Mark Cronin, owners of John’s Crazy Socks, will sell unique sock designs and talk about their relationship with Bush. Finally, there will be a watch party for the “41 on 41” documentary.

“The goal of hosting these events is to celebrate that [the Bush School has] been going strong for 25 years and, throughout, we’ve been helping students engage with the broader policy and public management community,” professor and head of the Public Service Administration Department Lori Taylor said. “These events are kind of an example of some of the ways we’ve helped our students connect in the past.”

As for how the Bush School was able to book speakers who knew Bush, and Robyn Small, marketing and communications director for the Bush School, attributed the school’s notoriety.

“In the world of public service, the Bush School has a reputation, and I think a lot of people want to be connected to it in some way, whether that’s to come and participate in our events,” Small said. “Once people hear the school name, I think it carries a little bit of cachet, and people want to be affiliated with it.”

The Bush School recently opened a location in Washington, D.C., in January and held a 25th anniversary celebration there in April, featuring appearances from Bush’s son Jeb Bush and House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi.

“The school is fairly young, we’re only 25 years old,” Small said. “But in that amount of time, we have had incredible growth. The goal of our celebration was to celebrate that success and also to connect younger students or new students coming in who may not have had a chance to interact with President Bush, to introduce them to him through his colleagues and most important to introduce them to his idea that public service is a noble calling.”

The Bush School opened in 1997 as part of the George Bush Presidential Library Complex

“He chose us,” Small said. “When [Bush] was looking for a place to put his Presidential Library, he could have put it anywhere and to put it on the grounds of a public state university was somewhat unusual. Texas A&M lobbied to get the Presidential Library on our campus and start this school, and he said he just loved Texas A&M.”

After the school opened, Bush and his wife, Barbara Bush, frequented campus, staying at an apartment on campus and sat in on classes.

“He was very, very engaged with the students,” Small said. “You’re sitting there taking notes, and suddenly the president walks in. People who weren’t connected to him and who remember those stories are just sort of blown away.”

Barbara Bush died in April of 2018 and Bush died in November of 2018. Both of them are buried on campus at the Bush library.

“The thing that makes the Bush School so special is when we look at the legacy of President H.W. Bush, it really fits into everything that we do at Texas A&M,” Senior Associate Dean for Academic Affairs Frank Ashley said. “When we look at the Aggie Core Values, one of the Core Values is Selfless Service, and President Bush himself said that public service is a noble calling. When you look at the Selfless Service plus the public service, this is that ideal place to continue his legacy developing public servants.”

Graduate student Stockton Duvall will receive a master’s of international affairs in the spring and currently works as the chief ambassador for the Ambassadors Council.

“You’re constantly surrounded by people whose goal isn’t just to go make more money and a better life for themselves, but you’re surrounded by people that want to work for the government and ways that they can better benefit those around them,” Duvall said. “It’s really just a good community to be a part of, and it’s the legacy President Bush wanted, and it’s something that we get to continue.”

Bush once said public service is a noble calling, which is a statement the Bush School continues to follow.

“The school prides itself on being the presidential college and being a part of the Texas A&M family and brand,” Small said. “[President M. Katherine] Banks gave a TV interview, and she [said]at one point, ‘The Bush School should be the crown jewel of Texas A&M.’ That’s a challenge we’re ready to accept. Our students are the future of the nation’s leaders. Our graduates will go out and change the world.”

All events except for the “Ride Home” ceremony will be open to all students and streamed on Facebook Live.  Event schedules and sign ups can be found here.
 
 

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  • A statue of former U.S. president George H. W. Bush outside the Bush School of Government and Public Service on Sunday, Sep. 4, 2022.

    Photo by Cade Gossett
  • A statue of former U.S. president George H. W. Bush outside the Bush School of Government and Public Service on Sunday, Sep. 4, 2022.

    Photo by Cade Gossett
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