Thirty SMU students in Professor Harold Stanley‘s American government course got a special lesson Feb. 24 from the man at the pinnacle of political decision-making for the past eight years – the 43rd President of the United States, George W. Bush.
Stanley, the Geurin-Pettus Professor of American politics and political economy in SMU’s Dedman College, took advantage of the fact that Mr. Bush is back in Dallas to arrange the surprise visit for his class on the American Political System.
When the class was assembled, SMU President R. Gerald Turner walked in the room behind Stanley. Turner said, “Does everyone recognize the 43rd President of the United States?” as Mr. Bush walked in. Students applauded, “but you could tell they were just shocked,” Turner said.
Mr. Bush began his remarks by talking about leadership, Stanley said. “The students were free to ask about anything and everything. They were interested in his plans for the presidential library and institute, his views on the current economic crisis, the stimulus plans, whether he had seen ‘W,’ whether he thought about the framers of the Constitution while he was president, and a wide range of other issues.”
In response to a question about the forthcoming Bush Institute, the former president said he hoped it would promote values such as freedom through speakers, debates and other forums involving people from around the world. He said he hoped young people with various points of view would become involved with the Institute.