Academics Bush Library Cox Business School

A Unique Experience: A Guest Lecture by President Bush

Meeting President Bush on campus was one of the things I had on my bucket list since my freshman year at SMU. However, I never thought that the way I would meet him was through a surprise guest lecture in one of my business classes.

jun-hoI am currently taking Professor Don Vandewalle’s class on Leadership and Culture in the Cox School of Business. The course is an evidence-based study on the science of leadership, and it utilizes interdisciplinary frameworks to understand what makes leaders successful.

When class started that fateful day, everything seemed normal. Professor Vandewalle began class by outlining the objectives of the day and asking us if we had any questions.

However, about five minutes into the lecture, our class began to realize that this class period would be anything but normal. We were told to put our computers and other electronic devices below our tables. Shortly after, former President George W. Bush walked into our classroom, shook Professor Vanderwalle’s hand and sat down on a chair across from our professor, ready to talk about some of his leadership experiences during his career.

Professor Vanderwalle led the beginning of the session by asking some questions tailored to the topics that our class was currently covering through case studies and in-class discussions. Near the middle of the class period, President Bush opened the floor to questions from the class. He took the time to answer each question asked and even stayed past the allotted class time to make sure that every student who wanted to ask a question had the opportunity to do so.

I am extremely thankful for the opportunity that SMU provided to not only meet the former president, but also to hear about his unique experiences and lessons learned as a co-owner of the Rangers, as the governor of Texas, and as the President of the United States of America.

-Jun-Ho Koh


Bush Library

I Met the President…

bushBy Jack Murphy

I met the president.  No, let me rephrase.  I had a memorable five-minute conversation with the former Commander-in-Chief George W. Bush and his wife, talking about how great SMU’s students were, my red hair, and our favorite topic: SMU Basketball.  But let me back up, you may be wondering how I met the president?  A few days ago I was chosen to represent the SMU student body to attend “Dining with Decision Makers,” a dinner held for the SMU Board of Trustees and for students to connect with them.  The Board is doing a phenomenal job with our university from completing the new Residential Commons in the southeast quad to hiring the great Larry Brown as our head basketball coach.  In attendance to this event was former First Lady Laura Bush, one of our Trustee members, and her “plus one” President Bush.  After finishing the George W. Bush Presidential Center, students are used to seeing the presidential couple around campus, but this was my opportunity to officially meet them.  After the dinner I walked up to George but before I could introduce myself, he exclaims “Big Red!”  Taken aback, I began to chat with him about SMU’s basketball season and the game that previous night where he spotted me in the halftime free-throw competition (being 6’3” with red hair, I’m not hard to miss).  We ended our conversation with a few good laughs and his remarks on our amazing student body of leaders and world changers.  That night I left the dinner looking back to the day I first arrived at SMU as a student less than two years ago.  With all the things SMU has allowed me to accomplish, I cannot be more excited for what is about to happen in the next two years.