The George W. Bush Presidential Center, which opened on April 25, 2013,[1] is a complex that includes former President George W. Bush's presidential libraryand museum, the George W. Bush Policy Institute, and the offices of the George W. Bush Foundation. It is located on the campus of Southern Methodist University(SMU) in DallasTexas.


 [hide*1 History


Site selection process[edit]Edit

Early bidders[edit]Edit

Before George W. Bush even became President, officials at Baylor University in Waco, Texas started to work on a bid for the library. They believed that their proximity to his ranch in Crawford and their location within 100 miles (160 km) of AustinDallas and the Bryan-College Station metropolitan area gave them a good shot at winning such a project. Not long after Bush became President, officials at Southern Methodist University began working on their bid for the library.

The White House refused to discuss the issue until after the President had won a second term. In the latter part of 2005, the White House asked a total of 6 colleges and one city to submit bids for the library. The 6 were BaylorSMU, the University of Texas SystemTexas Tech, the University of Dallas and Midland College. The city of Arlington, Texas also submitted a bid. A few weeks later, Midland College announced they were merging their bid with Texas Tech to form a "West Texas Coalition" to win the library and museum. Part of their proposal was to create a Laura Bush reading center at Midland College while the main presidential library and museum would be housed in Lubbock on the campus of Texas Tech.

Details of potential sites[edit]Edit

Each of the groups had different pros and cons to their bids. Arlington had land to offer near the stadiums for the Dallas Cowboys and Texas Rangers. It was in the middle of an area that already draws a large number of tourists every year. The lack of school involvement was a large drawback to the proposal, even though theUniversity of Texas at Arlington assisted the city in making the bid.

Baylor University had substantial land to offer on the banks of the Brazos River in Waco. The downside was the fact that Baylor is not in a major metropolitan area and would probably not attract nearly as many visitors annually as the library would if it were built somewhere in the Dallas area. Many Baylor students and faculty were supportive of the bid.

The same could not be said of the UT System bid. Many on the campus opposed the school's bid for the library, with the Daily Texan, the student newspaper of the UT system's flagship university, the University of Texas at Austin, printing an editorial against the project.[2] On the plus side, UT Austin was already home to theLyndon Baines Johnson Library and Museum and had experience in managing such a project. The drawback was the proposal to split the library up over several UT campuses around the state. This decentralized approach was sold as a way to create a "virtual" library that would benefit far more people.

The UT system also submitted with its bid a downtown property under its ownership as well as offering the UT Dallas campus. The Downtown Dallas property was located close to the Sixth Floor Museum at Dealey Plaza, which attracts a large number of tourists already and was located far away from residential areas, which would prevent complaints about congestion. It would also help rejuvenate the central Downtown area, which had been facing a flight of businesses and development towards the uptown areas. However, the idea of the UT system running the museum itself was found unfavorable. UT Dallas in Richardson, traditionally considered an engineering school and the one of the youngest universities in the UT portfolio, was having large developments to its campus and a growing Governmental studies and Business program whose faculty was supportive of the bid. It was also located north of Dallas near the fast developing communities of Frisco and Plano. However, the UT Dallas administration was uninterested in being in the business of running a museum and conflicts as to where the museum would be located (The UT System wanted to use land that the UTD administration had set aside for the future construction of residential halls and a research building) lead to the UT System withdrawing its proposal.

Texas Tech also had a substantial amount of land to offer and a supportive faculty and student body. The drawback to Texas Tech's bid was the fact the school is located in Lubbock, again outside a major metro area.

The bid by the University of Dallas was a surprise to many. The private Catholic school in the Dallas suburb of Irving, Texas is not that well known outside of the Dallas metropolitan area. The big advantage for the University of Dallas was the fact that the school owned hundreds of acres of undeveloped land next to its campus that lies between several major highways and a future light rail station. Their plans were apparently big enough to include a proposal to use some land from the City of Dallas, a fact that led then Dallas Mayor Laura Miller to endorse this plan over SMU's bid.

SMU's bid was mired in mystery from the start, especially with regard to where SMU would come up with the land to build the facility. Over the course of planning, SMU bought dozens of homes and businesses next to or near the school. SMU also acquired the University Gardens condos, only to get sued by one of the condo owners over the way the school made the acquisition. SMU insisted the land for the condos may or may not be needed for the library, yet space was still an issue. Many in University Park, an upscale enclave next to the campus, were also displeased with the prospect of thousands of people and tour buses going through their neighborhood to visit the library. Despite that, the University Park town council agreed to put up for a vote a plan to sell parkland to SMU for the library.

Final stages of selection[edit]Edit

In late 2005, the White House announced that SMU, Baylor, UD and Texas Tech had been selected as finalists to make their pitch to the library committee in Washington headed by the President's long time friend and former Commerce Secretary, Donald Evans. A few weeks after the presentations had been made, the committee announced that Texas Tech had been dropped from consideration, leaving only SMU, Baylor and The University of Dallas in contention.

On December 20, 2006, a judge ruled in favor of SMU on the land dispute over the University Gardens condos. The next day, officials at Southern Methodist University and library selection committee members announced that the university had entered "the next phase of deliberations" towards final site selection for the library.[3]

On January 22, 2007, the University of Dallas withdrew its bid for the library due to[citation needed] the negotiations with SMU. UD revealed the ambitious plans it had for the library and museum that included a large park, jogging trails, waterfalls, and easy access to a light-rail station.

Baylor published sections of their proposal on their website,[4] but no new information was revealed, and Baylor announced that it would not publish the complete proposal until after the final site selection was announced.

Selection of SMU[edit]Edit

On February 22, 2008, officials at Southern Methodist University reported that the final details of the agreement between the university and the Bush Foundation would be finalized, clearing the way for an official announcement that the George W. Bush Library would be built at SMU.[5] The university soon officially confirmed the signed agreement.[6]

Some segments of the SMU community had voiced opposition to the project during the selection phase. In December 2006, a letter from several members of the Perkins School of Theology to R. Gerald Turner, president of the Board of Trustees, criticized Bush's policies as "ethically egregious" and expressed concern that the library would serve as a "conservative think tank and policy institute that engages in legacy polishing and grooms young conservatives for public office."[7] Another group of faculty complained about the lack of consultation in the decision to house the library on campus.[8] According to SMU officials, opposition among faculty members has not been widespread.[8]

A group of Methodists launched a petition opposing plans to build the library and museum at SMU, calling it inappropriate to link Bush's presidency to a university bearing the Methodist name.[9]

An article in The Guardian noted that a petition opposing the construction of the library gathered 12,500 signatures.[10]


The nonprofit George W. Bush Foundation in early 2009 had a goal to raise $300 million for construction and endowment of the library, according to its president Mark Langdale.[11]


The architect Robert A.M. Stern, dean of the architecture school at Yale University, was picked to design the library.[12]

Groundbreaking took place on November 16, 2010.[13][14] In tandem with the publication of his memoir Decision Points, President Bush hosted a November 16, 2010 groundbreaking ceremony for the center.[15] At the event, Cheney commented that "this may be the only shovel-ready project in America," using a term prominently and ultimately ruefully associated with President Obama's 2009 fiscal stimulus package.[14][16] The construction company chosen was Manhattan Construction Company, which had also built the George Bush Presidential Library.

The construction of the center has been projected to cost $250 million.[17] In April 2013, the building earned a platinum certification as a Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design green building.[18]

Completion and dedication ceremony[edit]Edit

The completion and dedication of the facility took place on April 25, 2013. All living former U.S. presidents and the incumbent U.S. president, Barack Obama, were in attendance. The last meeting of President Obama, former President Bush, former President Clinton, former President George H.W. Bush and former President Carter took place in the White House in 2009, just ahead of President Obama's first inauguration.[19] None of the speakers in attendance made any mention of the war in Iraq, a defining event in George W. Bush's presidency.

Presidential library[edit]Edit

At a planned 207,000 square feet (19,200 m2), on completion it will become the second-largest presidential library, behind only the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library in Simi ValleyCalifornia.[11]

Policy Institute[edit]Edit

Ambassador James K. Glassman, a former State Department official, was selected in September 2009 to serve as founding executive director of the Center's George W. Bush Institute, which will function as an "action-oriented think tank" independent of SMU.[20]

The institute is planned "to advance four causes he adopted as his own while in office: human freedom, global health, economic growth and education reform.[citation needed] He has also started a women’s initiative led by his wife, Laura Bush." At the November, 2010, groundbreaking, the former president said to attendees, "The decisions of governing are on another president’s desk, and he deserves to make them without criticism from me. But staying out of current affairs and politics does not mean staying out of policy."[14] Laura Bush addressed the crowd "to promote the importance of fighting for women’s rights around the world."[16]

In 2012, it published, The 4% Solution: Unleashing the Economic Growth America Needs (Crown Business, 2012), a collection of essays by Brendan Minister, W. Michael Cox and Richard Alm, Robert Lucas, Jr.,Edward C. Prescott, Steven Gjerstad and Vernon L. SmithKevin HassettDavid MalpassMyron ScholesPeter G. Klein, Robert Litan, Nick Schulz, Maria Minniti, Carlos Guttierez, Steven F. Hayward and Kenneth P. GreenCharles Blahous and Jason T. Fichtner, Eric HanushekGary Becker, Pia M. Orrenius and Madeline Zavodny, E. Floyd KvammeAmity Shlaes, and Michael Novak, including five Nobel Prizewinners.[21][22][23][24][25][26][27][28][29][30] The book contains a foreword by George W. Bush and an introduction by James K. Glassman.[21][22][28][30] The book covers such varied topics as immigration, Social Security and the policies of President Calvin Coolidge.[28][30] It suggests policies for the US gross domestic product to reach 4%, thus focusing on growth contrary to Mitt Romney and Rick Perry's stated goals to cut the deficit during the 2012 presidential campaign.[28]

Golf tournament[edit]Edit

The Warrior Open is a 36-hole golf tournament with members of the United States Army.[31][32][additional citation needed] It is sponsored by Highland Capital ManagementSammons EnterprisesUnited Service OrganizationsAmerican AirlinesAir Compassion for VeteransLa Quinta Inns & SuitesMercedes-Benz of Plano, TexasTaylorMade-AdidasAdidasAshworth7-ElevenPremier Transportation, the United States Golf AssociationPGA Tour, the Texas Golf Association and the Women's Texas Golf Association.[33][additional citation needed] It is hosted at the ClubCorp-owned Las Colinas Country Club in the Las Colinas suburb of Dallas.[31][33][additional citation needed]

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