The Bush Center and SMU

Resources for Research

The George W. Bush Presidential Library and Museum houses historic documents and artifacts for research – more than 70 million pages of written materials and 80 terabytes of electronic records. The George W. Bush Institute sponsors research and programs on education reform, global health, human freedom and economic growth. These resources will serve not only students and other residents of this region, but also scholars and dignitaries from throughout the world.

This resource makes SMU in Dallas an important destination for examining and understanding presidential decision-making during a unique time in U.S. history. The Library also includes the records of George W. Bush as governor of Texas.

Sample interactions with SMU follow.

Programs and Partnerships on Key Issues

Since 2010, the George W. Bush Institute has sponsored 12 symposia on its area of focus. Attracting more than 2,500 participants from throughout the world, the symposia have been held primarily at SMU, making them accessible to the University’s students and faculty. 

Several SMU faculty have participated in Bush Institute programs as symposia panelists. In addition:

  • Cox School of Business Dean Al Niemi and several professors took part in the Bush Institute’s economic growth summit in New York City, and three of them contributed to the resulting book, The 4% Solution.
  • Cox’s Maguire Energy Institute, under the direction of Bruce Bullock, co-sponsored the Bush Institute symposium on natural gas development. 
  • Seventeen SMU faculty in business, anthropology, communications, political science, law and education taught and mentored in the Bush Institute’s Women’s Initiative Fellowship Program. The inaugural program brought 14 Egyptian women to SMU for the start of their year-long leadership training. SMU faculty also traveled to Egypt to provide additional training.  The second class of 19 fellows started their training at SMU in March 2013.  In addition, Mrs. Bush has brought faculty together for discussions with other women visitors to campus from the Middle East.
  • David Chard, the Leon Simmons dean of the Annette Caldwell Simmons School of Education and Human Development, is a research partner in the joint Bush-SMU Middle School Matters program, aiming to increase the number of students prepared for high school achievement. 
  • The Bush Institute’s Alliance to Reform Education Leadership (AREL) is another partnership with the Simmons School, along with the Cox School of Business and the Teaching Trust. Its goal is to reform the way school principals are prepared and evaluated. 
  • SMU’s new Center for Presidential History co-sponsors public lectures by nationally known historians and other scholars in partnership with the George W. Bush Presidential Library and Museum.
  • The Tower Center for Political Studies in SMU’s Dedman College partnered with the Bush Institute on a roundtable with women politicians from Burma on that nation’s challenges. The Tower Center also is working with the Bush Presidential Library and Museum and SMU’s Center for Presidential History on a program in 2014 on presidential crises and decision-making. 

Academic Appointments

  • Global health expert Eric Bing is a concurrent Fellow of the Bush Institute and Simmons School in the specialty of applied physiology, as well as with Dedman College in anthropology. He is the first concurrent Fellow to become a tenured SMU professor. 
  • Bernard Weinstein, associate director of the Maguire Energy Institute, has been appointed as a concurrent Fellow with the Bush Institute.
  • SMU’s John Goodwin Tower Center for Political Studies welcomed Bush Institute Fellow Oscar Morales for a two-year residency, during which he led seminars, met with students and helped arrange visits by international dignitaries.

Impact on Students

  • Former President George. W. Bush has made himself available to speak to SMU classes at the invitation of faculty. Among these are Professors Harold Stanley and Joseph Kobylka in political science, Caroline Brettell in anthropology (class on immigration) and Carolyn Barta in journalism.
  • Thus far more than 100 students have served as interns with the Bush Center or Office of the President. Several student groups have toured the temporary storage facility outside Dallas to get a sense of the vast collection of materials and to view selected artifacts.
  • In addition to students chosen as interns at the Bush Center, the Bush Library has contracted with SMU to hire 15 to 20 students in the Work-Study Program, initially working in ticket sales, with the hope of expansion to other areas.  
  • Former President George W. Bush also has met with groups of merit scholarship students for informal discussion.
  • In February 2011, when C-SPAN founder Brian Lamb came to SMU to interview former President George W. Bush, more than 75 SMU students had the opportunity to serve as the audience and ask their own questions of the president. Lamb later returned to interview SMU President R. Gerald Turner.
  • In May 2011, a visit from His Holiness the Dalai Lama was facilitated by his participation in a Bush Center event. He took part in SMU’s Hart Global Leaders Forum, involving more than 250 high school students along with SMU students.
  • Students in various classes also have been able to participate in Bush Institute symposia, such as those in political science, business and human rights courses.
  • In October 2010 through February 2011, SMU students, faculty and staff, along with the public, were able to view “Breaking New Ground,” a preview exhibit of documents and artifacts from the Bush Museum collection. Displayed in SMU’s Meadows Museum, the exhibit, combined with the Meadows’ own masterpieces, attracted record numbers of visitors.