SMU Welcomes George W. Bush Presidential Center to Campus

Former First Lady Laura Bush talks with news media the day before Thursday's dedication of the Bush Center.

Former First Lady Laura Bush and Alan Lowe, director of the Bush Library, greet reporters in the museum’s re-creation of the White House Rose Garden. Mrs. Bush thanked SMU, her alma mater, for its partnership making possible the new presidential library and museum.

DALLAS (SMU) – SMU on Thursday is welcoming President Barack Obama and all living former presidents to the dedication ceremony of the George W. Bush Presidential Center.  They join other dignitaries and visitors, numbering several thousand, from throughout the world. In addition, the ceremony is viewable online at

Located on a 23-acre site on the east side of campus, the Bush Center houses the Presidential Library and Museum and the George W. Bush Institute. The Library and Museum will open to the public May 1.

Because of space limitations, attendance to the dedication is by invitation from the Bush Foundation. Campus locations have been designated for SMU faculty, students and staff to view the live proceedings. Residents of University Park and Highland Park can view the ceremonies on SMU-TV, Ch. 19.

The Bush Center has designated Monday, April 29, as a special library visitation day for SMU faculty, staff and students.

During the dedication week, especially Wednesday, April 24, through Friday, April 26, students, faculty and staff have been instructed to use offsite parking reserved for them in downtown Dallas, public transportation and/or car pool to mitigate increases in traffic and closures of streets and parking facilities near SMU. For more information and maps, please visit

“While classes will continue as normal, the entire SMU family should expect that our routines will be altered temporarily,” said Brad Cheves, vice president for development and external affairs. “We are honored to be serving in a hospitality role for this once-in-a-lifetime event and to welcoming visitors to campus who ordinarily would not become familiar with SMU. We are looking forward to showing what makes our University special and a fitting location for the historical resources of the Bush Presidential Center.”

The George W. Bush Presidential Library and Museum will be the 13th such resource in the nation operated by the National Archives and Records Administration, a federal agency. The George W. Bush Institute, an independent public policy organization, reports to the Bush Foundation. All three occupy a 226,565-square-foot-building surrounded by grounds featuring Texas prairie landscaping.   

"The Bush Library and Museum is a state-of-the-art research center for historians, scholars, students and the public,” said Alan Lowe, Director of the Library and Museum.  “We will provide in-depth access to presidential materials and the presidential decision-making process.”

The archives and artifacts of the George W. Bush Administration include 80 terabytes of digital information, more than 200 million e-mails and more than 43,000 artifacts.

The George W. Bush Institute focuses on programs and research resulting in action in the areas of education reform, global health, economic growth and human freedom. Through its Women’s Initiative, the Institute addresses the needs and opportunities of women as agents of change in society. Its Women’s Fellowship program has an initial focus on empowering women of the Middle East.  The Institute’s military initiative honors U.S. servicemen and women and their families.

“The resources of the Bush Center will provide unique learning experiences for our students, as well as research opportunities for our faculty and scholars around the world,” said SMU President R. Gerald Turner. “Few students have the privilege of attending college with the historic resources of a Presidential Library on their campus, and the Bush Presidency represents a unique time in the nation’s history. We’re grateful that President and Mrs. Bush chose SMU to host these resources, which also provide great benefits to our region. Thanks to the Bush Center, SMU and Dallas will become even more of a destination for educational and cultural resources.”

The Bush Center’s impact on SMU already has been significant. Active since 2010, the Bush Institute has been holding symposia in SMU’s Collins Executive Education Center while the Bush Center has been under construction. The Institute has sponsored 12 symposia attracting more than 2,500 participants from around the world and involving faculty and students in related disciplines. Various SMU schools and centers have co-sponsored Bush Institute programs, are engaging in joint research projects or have made concurrent appointments of Institute Fellows to the SMU faculty. Global health scholar Eric G. Bing has joined the SMU faculty as professor of global health in a concurrent appointment with the George W. Bush Institute, SMU’s Annette Caldwell Simmons School of Education and Human Development and Dedman College of Humanities and Sciences.

In addition, several faculty members have invited the former president to speak to their classes, and more than 100 students have served as interns at Bush Center offices. When C-SPAN visited campus in 2011 to interview the 43rd President of the United States, 75 merit scholarship students served as the audience and asked questions of the former President.

SMU was selected as the site of the Bush Center in February 2008 after competing with six other institutions. The former president has said that he wanted his Library, Museum and Institute to be associated with a distinguished national university. SMU also has the benefit of being well-situated in Dallas, a major metropolitan area in the heartland of the nation.

“We look forward to being a vibrant part of the greater SMU campus and continuing the service of President and Mrs. Bush through the work of the George W. Bush Institute,” said Mark Langdale, president of the George W. Bush Foundation.

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