A former leader over the U.S. Air Force will moderate a panel Friday in Aggieland that includes a career ambassador, a former White House chief of staff, a top Texas A&M administrator and an expert on foreign policy. The topic? Current events.
What all five public servants have in common is each were instrumental in developing the Bush School of Government and Public Service at A&M, which opened its classrooms 20 years ago last month.
The discussion will be led by the Bush School's current dean, retired Gen. Mark Welsh, who will be joined by Dr. Charles F. Hermann, the first director of the Bush School, serving from 1995 to 1999 and who remains a professor emeritus at the school; Dr. Benton Cocanougher, interim dean from 2009 to 2010 who is the dean emeritus of the Mays School of Business at A&M; Andrew Card, acting dean from 2011 to 2013 who was White House chief of staff under President George W. Bush; and Ryan Crocker, dean from 2013 to 2016 who also is a career ambassador in the U.S. State Department.
"Each of these individuals, along with other Bush School leaders, have made significant contributions to our reputation for academic excellence and commitment to public service," Welsh said. "This is a remarkable opportunity to hear their views on the Bush School, current world affairs, and the place of the United States in the world."
The discussion is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. in the Annenberg Presidential Conference Center on campus and will be preceded by a reception.
Other public discussions and events being hosted on campus this week in honor of the 20th anniversary of the opening of Bush's presidential library and museum, as well as the college, include the following:
• The Bush School of Government and Public Service at Texas A&M will feature authors of Called to Serve: The 20-Year History of the Bush School at 6:30 p.m. today at the Annenberg Presidential Conference Center. Hermann and Sally Dee Wade, former writing instructor at the Bush School, are expected to discuss the history of the school, as well as where some of its graduates have landed.
A dessert reception and book signing will follow at 7:30 p.m.; books will be available for purchase before and after the event.
• At the same location at 1 p.m. Friday, a "Sharing the Story: Researching the Bush Administration" panel will feature former Bush White House speechwriter and 41ON41 documentary executive producer Mary Kate Cary, along with fellow panelists Jeff Engel, founding director of the Center for Presidential History at Southern Methodist University; Barbara Perry, director of presidential studies at the University of Virginia's Miller Center of Public Affairs and Jon Meacham, Pulitzer Prize winner and author of Destiny and Power: The American Odyssey of George Herbert Walker Bush.
• At 3 p.m. the same day, "Unlocking the Mystery: Declassifying the Bush Administration Documents" panel will discuss the classification and declassification of government information between University of Colorado-Boulder American diplomatic history professor Tom Zeiler, U.S. Department of State historian Stephen Randolph, George Washington University National Security Archive Director Thomas Blanton and Bush School senior lecturer James Olson.
Officials said topics will include the fine line between the public's right to know and national safety and security, and most importantly, the 25-year declassification rule described in Executive Order 12958, and what that means for Bush presidential records in January. A moderated question and answer session will follow.
Friday's events are free. To register, go online to http://bit.ly/bushpanel.
An invitation-only gathering is scheduled for Saturday afternoon on the grounds of the Bush Center where seven or eight of Bush's grandchildren are expected to participate in a panel discussion about the 41st president and former first lady, Barbara.
That night, a historic benefit concert will kick off at Reed Arena where Bush will be in attendance, along with the four other living former presidents -- Jimmy Carter, Bill Clinton, George W. Bush, and Barack Obama. The five joined together to form One America Appeal, an effort kicked off by the senior Bush as a way to raise funds for those impacted by Hurricane Harvey in Texas, Hurricane Irma in Florida and Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico.
• Registration is not required for "Family Fest," which will be 9:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Saturday with carnival games and bounce houses at the pond. There will be free admission to the museum where storyteller Bernadette Nason will share a two-story program, linked with President Bush's career. Organizers said it's perfect for age 4 and up. These will be in the orientation theater at 10:15 a.m., 11:45 a.m. and 1:15 p.m.
For information, visit Bush41.org.