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

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

The Battalion

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Documenting the special relationship between George H.W. Bush and Texas A&M

The+groundbreaking+ceremony+at+the+George+Bush+Presidential+Library+and+Museum.
Photo by Cushing Memorial Library and Archives

The groundbreaking ceremony at the George Bush Presidential Library and Museum.

The history of the 41st president of the United States lives on at Texas A&M through preserved documents and educational events.
The George H.W. Bush Library and Museum opened its doors on Nov. 7, 1997. The library boasts 17,000 square feet of permanent exhibit space telling the story of President Bush and the changing world around him, as well as an additional 3,000 square feet designated for traveling exhibits.
The Nov. 7, 1997 edition of The Battalion featured a front page dedicated to the opening of the library.
According to the article, over 20,000 spectators were present at the dedication of the library. Among the attendees were Arnold Schwarzenegger, Chuck Norris and performers like Loretta Lynn and the Oak Ridge Boys.
“Today one thing is for sure — I did not lack for inspiration or support during those four years,” Bush said at the opening ceremony.
Oil developer Michel Halbouty, Class of 1930, was instrumental in persuading Bush to establish his presidential library in College Station. The former president enjoyed the military tradition of A&M, and wanted to be on a campus where he felt welcome. Students voted overwhelmingly in favor of housing the library on campus, which made a large impact on his decision.
Once the library was established, the Bush family frequently attended campus events and met with A&M students, sometimes visiting campus as often as four times a month.
“When his health was better, he used to use the Rec Center,” museum director Warren Finch said. “I’ve heard stories of students who would say ‘I was on the elliptical machine and I looked next to me and there was President Bush.’”
One of the library’s most recognizable philanthropy events in recent years was “Deep From the Heart: One America Appeal,” a concert hosted on Oct. 24, 2017, benefiting those affected by Hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria. The event featured all five living former presidents and a special recorded message from current President Donald Trump.
Musicians such as Robert Earl Keen, Lyle Lovett and Lady Gaga performed at the benefit concert, which raised over $33 million.
“There’s very few times that you’re able to get all of the living presidents together,” Bush Library marketing and communications director David Anaya said. “It tells you the character of all of the presidents to be able to get together for this event. It was hard, but I think it created a lot of buzz and I think the money helped a lot of people.”
While most print news outlets were not allowed to leave the media room, The Battalion was allowed to sit in a section consisting of mostly broadcast reporters, allowing the student publication to have some of the best photographic coverage of the night. Additionally, Battalion reporters published their content online before local newspapers.
While special events are a major contributor to the library’s average of 150,000 visitors per year, Anaya said there was a jump to over 200,000 visitors in 2018. The increase is likely the result of the recent death of former First Lady Barbara Bush, who is buried on the grounds of the library.
When news of Barbara Bush’s passing broke on April 17, 2018, The Battalion staff rearranged the original design for the April 18 newspaper to feature the news on the front page. A reporter was sent out to cover a spontaneous event held that night in front of the Bush Library.
“At the Presidential Pond beside the George Bush Presidential Library and Museum, a vigil was held to honor the memory of the late Barbara Bush,” the paper read. “Students from the Bush School were the primary organizers … The vigil brought over 100 students and community members together with the lighting of candles, singing of hymns and a moment of silence to honor the legacy of the former first lady.”
In the following days, staff members created a memorial edition for the former first lady and provided readers with in-depth coverage of her burial at the Bush Library on April 23.
The Battalion continues to report on the wide variety of events hosted at the library throughout the year.

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  • George H. W. Bush threw the first pitch at the Yale vs. Texas A&M baseball game in 2016. 

    Photo by FILE
  • A statue honoring Bush was unveiled at the Bush Library in 2014. 

    Photo by FILE
  • In this Sept. 2, 2008 file photo, former U.S. President George H.W. Bush, left, and former first lady Barbara Bush are seen at the Republican National Convention in St. Paul, Minn. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh, File)

    Photo by Susan Walsh
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