2015 Archives

Former President George W. Bush to speak at SMU Commencement

March 3, 2015

DALLAS (SMU) – George W. Bush, the 43rd president of the United States, will deliver the address at SMU’s Commencement ceremony Saturday, May 16, in Moody Coliseum on the main campus.

George W Bush
George W. Bush at SMU

SMU expects to award more than 2,000 undergraduate, graduate and professional degrees in the University-wide ceremony.

“This Commencement is especially noteworthy because 2015 is the 100-year anniversary of SMU’s opening. So it is fitting that we should hear from a president who led our nation and the world during historic times and is a valued member of the campus community,” said SMU President R. Gerald Turner.

This is the first time that an SMU Commencement speaker has returned for a second presentation. Mr. Bush’s first Commencement speech at SMU was in 1999, when he was governor of Texas.

George W. Bush has been a long-time member of the SMU family through his marriage to Laura, an SMU alumna, who is currently a member of the SMU Board of Trustees. However, since his 2007 decision to locate his Presidential Center at SMU, he has become an active member of the University community, attending events and visiting classes.

“The Presidential Center and SMU are enjoying numerous partnerships through joint programming and faculty research as well as internships for SMU students,” Turner said. “Through the Center, more than 700,000 people have visited SMU, most of whom never before would have come to our campus. We are grateful for the resources and benefits of the Presidential Center and President Bush’s participation as Commencement speaker during this special time.”

 The George W. Bush Presidential Center, which includes the George W. Bush Presidential Library and Museum and the George W. Bush Institute, has partnered on projects with various SMU academic centers, among them the Cox School of Business, the Annette Caldwell Simmons School of Education and Human Development, the Center for Presidential History and the John Goodwin Tower Center for Political Studies in Dedman College. Focusing on education reform, human freedom, economic growth and global health, the Bush Institute has sponsored several symposia, along with programs of its Military Service Initiative and Global Women’s Initiatives. Many of these programs are open to SMU faculty and students. SMU faculty members helped to develop a curriculum for the Bush Institute’s Women’s Initiative Fellowship program involving participants from the Middle East. As part of the Bush Institute’s global health initiative, several students were selected to travel to Zambia for volunteer work and research at a clinic for victims of cervical cancer and HIV-AIDS.

George W. Bush received his bachelor’s degree in history from Yale University and an MBA from the Harvard Business School. After a successful career in business, including as an owner of the Texas Rangers, he was elected governor of Texas in 1994. When he was re-elected in November 1998, he became the first governor in Texas history to be elected to consecutive four-year terms. He is the author of two New York Times number one bestsellers, “Decision Points” and “41: A Portrait of my Father.”

Following the University-wide Commencement, SMU’s schools and departments will hold individual ceremonies throughout the day to present degrees and honor graduates.


SMU is a nationally ranked private university in Dallas founded 100 years ago. Today, SMU enrolls approximately 11,000 students, who benefit from the academic opportunities and international reach of seven degree-granting schools.