On Friday, April 19, SMU held an official ceremony to welcome the George W. Bush Presidential Center to campus. These are the remarks of President George W. Bush at the ceremony.
President George W. Bush:
Thank you. Please be seated. Dr. Turner, thank you very much for your kind words.
Mayor Davis, awesome, Bush Avenue. (Laughter.) Life doesn’t get any better than this.
I want to thank Alex Mace and the other leaders of the student council for being here.
Mr. President, nice speech. You got a shot. (Laughter.)
I also want to thank my pals that helped get the building built and funded. You’ll be happy to hear that the Bush Presidential Center is completely paid for with no taxpayers’ money.
Laura, class of 1968, and I are thrilled with our association with Southern Methodist University. You know, we had high expectations about the collaborative effort and the joint programs, and those expectations have been exceeded in a very short period of time.
I am some kind of fired up for next Thursday. I mean, it’s going to be a big deal. (Laughter.) We’ll have our President and members of the Former Presidents Club right here on this campus. I’m really looking forward to welcoming one of the former members – one of the members of the Former Presidents Club – and that is my dad, 41. I guess I’d better include my mother in that, too.
We’re also going to be welcoming – not exactly my constituency – but over 500 members of the press corps. And I’m glad they’re coming. Because they’re going to see firsthand why we selected Southern Methodist University as our home.
I mean when they study the decision why, they’re going to find out what I have come to know. SMU has got visionary leaders. And it’s got an active alumni association. It’s got a faculty that is dedicated and smart. And it has a great student body – most of whom go to class. (Laughter.)
I am really looking forward to writing the final chapter of my life on this campus. You know, I hope it’s a long chapter. (Laughter.) But however long it is, it’s going to be here. We’re going to do some wonderful things at the Institute, and we’ll be working with SMU to do so.
To summarize, and just so you know, I’m a big believer in the transformative power of freedom. And so from this very campus we’re going to promote freedom in the Middle East through helping women, freedom of the markets, freedom of our own society by encouraging educational excellence, freedom from diseases in places like Zambia and Tanzania. We’re going to honor those who help secure freedom, and that is the mighty United States military members.
We’re going to be doing some great programs, and a lot of it is going to be in association with SMU faculty and students.
I was sitting up here thinking about how cool it’s going to be at the age of 80 to kind of be wandering around the campus. You’ll see an old guy invigorated by my association with this fine university. You’ll see a guy who hopes that he’s got the capacity to distill and impart knowledge about what I learned during an awesome phase of my life, and that is being the President of the United States of America.
But you see a guy who’s grateful, really grateful, that the current leadership of SMU, the Board of Trustees, made it possible that Laura and I can build the Bush Presidential Center here on this campus. Today is a day to give thanks, and I’m the most thankful person here. God bless you all.