By Austin Brown

Last semester SMU was lucky enough to have President George Bush on campus to speak about his new book 41: A Portrait Of My Father. It always strikes me how lucky we are as a student body to consistently have opportunities to attend speeches by the former president. Reflecting on this reminded me of my own experience with President Bush that I will share for you in my “Throwback Thursday” blog post. (This post was originally written in the fall of my sophomore year).

Untitled4Even though I am only a sophomore here at SMU I feel like I have already had the chance to do some pretty incredible things. This past Monday started off like all of my Mondays this semester until I got to my first class, Evolution of American Capitalism taught by Albert Niemi, Dean of the Cox School of Business. I first noticed that something was different about this class when a random photographer walked in to our class and took a few pictures. It was strange, but since it is such a cool class I thought maybe it was a picture for the school newspaper or something like that. Five seconds later my friend sitting next to me draws my attention to the door by blurting out “Dude look! It’s George Bush!” in a very excited tone.   To my surprise I see former President George W. Bush casually stroll down the stairs with a huge grin on his face.

After being greeted by a huge round of applause Bush proceeded to answer questions and talk to my class about: how much he loves the SMU student body, capitalism and the thought process behind his decisions during the 2008 Financial Crisis, current events, life lessons, and even his newfound hobby as a painter. I was also lucky enough to ask him a question. How many sophomores in college get to do that?

What really struck me about the whole experience was how George W. Bush was such a down to earth guy. He told us not to shy away from taking a few risks in your life and also not to be afraid to stand up for what you believe in. Regardless of your political beliefs, the opportunity to listen to a former President of the United States in person, and even the chance to ask him a question, is something that I will never forget.