January 1, 2011

Breaking ground for the Bush Center were (from left) Ray L. Hunt ’65, co-chair of the Bush Finance Committee and SMU trustee; Caren Prothro, chair of the SMU Board of Trustees; Alan Lowe, director of the Bush Presidential Library and Museum; Robert Stern, architect for the Bush Presidential Center; SMU President R. Gerald Turner; Condoleezza Rice, chair of the Bush Institute Advisory Board; George W. Bush and Laura Bush ’68. Among those not shown is Jake Torres, student body president.

More than 3,000 guests filled a massive tent on the site of the George W. Bush Presidential Center to celebrate its groundbreaking November 16, as 15 officials took up shovels to turn dirt. Another 300 members of the SMU community gathered on campus to watch an outdoor simulcast.

The Presidential Center will benefit from its association with the academic resources, vitality of dialogue and research programs offered by SMU,” said President R. Gerald Turner. “And it will provide remarkable opportunities for research and education to scholars and students of all ages.”

President Bush welcomed the audience, saying, “To those of you who are not privileged to live in Texas, welcome to the great state. And welcome to one of the finest universities in the whole United States, Southern Methodist.”