2009 Archives

Former President Bush visits SMU journalism class

April 30, 2009

DALLAS (SMU) — Former President George W. Bush had lunch with student scholars and addressed a class of journalism students during a visit Wednesday to Southern Methodist University, where his Presidential Center will be located.

On April 29, former President George W. Bush spoke with a journalism class, visited with students and had lunch with SMU Hunt and President's Scholars.

“I was trying to impart some knowledge,” Bush told SMU Daily Mustang reporter and student Shelly Smith as he came out of Journalism Lecturer Carolyn Barta’s class, where he had spent more than an hour. Bush explained that he had first met Barta when he was running for Congress in 1978 and she was a newspaper reporter. He said that when he recently saw her, she invited him to talk to her class.

Mai Lyn Ngo, one of Barta’s students, told Smith that “Everybody was awed and just very thrilled that he was there.” She said Bush’s comments to the class were off the record, but he spoke in general about his career in politics.

Earlier in the day, Bush joined Hunt and President’s Scholars for lunch, where he also talked about his experiences as president.

President’s Scholar Jessica Pecena, who sat across the table from Bush, said his meeting with the scholars was an “excellent surprise” and that she had met him by chance on campus once before.

“I have always wanted to meet him since he was the governor of Texas, and now thanks to SMU I have had the opportunity twice this semester.  My favorite part of the luncheon was when he asked what we were planning to do in the future. He seemed genuinely interested in us,” said Pecena, a senior from Grand Prairie who is majoring in anthropology and psychology.

Bush last visited an SMU class on Feb. 24, when he spoke to an American government course taught by Harold W. Stanley, the Geurin-Pettus Professor of American politics and political economy in SMU’s Dedman College. Stanley arranged the surprise visit for his class on the American Political System.

SMU will be home to the George W. Bush Presidential Center, including a library, museum and independent institute. The library and museum will provide resources that chronicle the history of the Bush presidency and host scholars and dignitaries for dialogue and study. As the Bush Foundation continues planning for the Presidential Center, SMU is collaborating on the design and programmatic aspects of the project.

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