COLLEGE STATION, Texas (FOX 26) - The Bush family has asked that in lieu of flowers the public can make a donation to the George Bush Memorial Fund which benefits the Bush School at Texas A&M—a place that meant a great deal to the former president.
President George H.W. Bush is in the DNA of the Bush School at this point, said Gen. Mark A. Welsh III, Dean of the Bush School of Government and Public Service. He added it’s a place that exists to produce principled leaders for public service—some of the values President Bush was most passionate about.
“He from the very beginning spent time here,” said Welsh. “So did Mrs. Bush. They came into classrooms. They talked to students. They threw horseshoes out here on the side of the building at lunch time. He fished out here on the lake and welcomed all visitors and of course spent a lot of time talking to our students and our faculty and our staff.”
Welsh is the former Chief of Staff of the U.S. Air Force Mark. He says his first interaction with President Bush happened when he first got the job as dean in 2016 while he was still working at the Pentagon.
“I noticed I had three voice mails—all from an unknown number—so I open up the first one and listen to the voice mail, and it was President Bush,” said Welsh. “And he was calling to congratulate me and welcome me to the school and tell me how excited he was that I was coming to do this. And it was about a two minute message. He was struggling a little to speak because of his vascular Parkinson’s.... And I found out after I got here and got to know him a little bit that that’s who he was. He was that kind of human being. He noticed when people were trying to do the right thing. He made sure that he told people he appreciated what they did.”
The last time Welsh saw President Bush was in June in Kennebunkport, Maine, when he got a chance to give the former President an update on the Bush School. It was just two months after the passing of Barbara Bush.
“He actually made a point of letting us know when we visited him in June that, hey, this isn’t a wake here,” said Welsh. “I know my wife is gone. I miss her every day, but let’s talk about where we’re going. I’m thinking about the future.”
Part of that future was the launch of the Bush School’s new Center for Grand Strategy.
The launch event for the center was held just two days before the former President’s passing.
“It’s about bringing scholars together with real policy makers who make decisions today—helping them learn from each other, inform each other’s work, and then maybe focus on things that make the most difference in the nation going forward—and that’s one of the things that President Bush always stood for,” said Welsh. “He would love the fact that we’re doing this at his school.”
The George Bush Memorial Fund was designated by President Bush to benefit the Bush school because he saw the school as his living legacy. If you’d like to donate to his Memorial Fund, you can do so here: https://www.georgehwbush.com/memorial-fund