Center for Presidential History at SMU

Only a handful of universities around the country can boast of a presidential library on their campus, and SMU is part of that elite club. Its archive offers an incomparable resource for Mustangs, and the Bush Center frequently brings some of the country’s – indeed the world’s – great minds to campus for talks, lectures or just to work with our faculty and in our classes. Our Center for Presidential History is a fuller and more exciting place to study the past by its presence in our midst. Speakers at the Center for Presidential History have included Jay Leno, Jeff Bezos, Condoleezza Rice, Troy Aikman and Bono among others.

The Center for Presidential History at SMU, the hub of current and innovative research on the American presidency, maintains two significant collaborations with the Bush Center that advance the understanding of the history of the office and the events and issues that shape each leader.

Presidential Histories and Memories

The “Presidential Histories and Memories” series brings noted writers and historians to campus for thought-provoking discussions about a range of topical subjects. These popular events are free and open to the public. In the past years, the Bush Center’s Forum on Leadership has hosted Ben Bernanke, former chair of the Federal Reserve and fellow at the Brookings Institution; John Boehner, 53rd speaker of the House of Representatives; Dick Cheney, 46th vice president of the United States; Henry Kissinger, 56th United States secretary of state; and James A. Baker, III, 61st United States secretary of state. These leaders have inspired the community about how to enact change.

The Collective Memories Project

The Collective Memories Project is an ongoing effort enhancing the historical and archival record of various presidential administrations, beginning with the presidency of George W. Bush. Projects include records relating to the transition from the George W. Bush to Barack Obama presidencies, U.S.-Russian Relations under Bush and Putin, The Decision to Surge in Iraq, Transatlantic Diplomacy after 9/11: the U.S. and Norway, Faith and the Presidency, and The United States and Latin America, among others. 

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