Former President George H.W. Bush and his wife Barbara will speak at the May 21 Commencement ceremony, the University announced Friday.
“President and Mrs. Bush represent role models for generations,” University President Stephen Joel Trachtenberg said in a statement. “Their dedication to public service; their strength as individuals and as a couple; their strong family values and their faith in America have left an indelible, positive mark on our country and the world. We are honored to have them address our 2006 graduating class.”
Michael Freedman, vice president of Communications, said it is still unknown where Commencement will be held. Earlier this academic year, the National Park Service disclosed that the Ellipse is not an option for the 2006 ceremony.
“(I’m) very excited,” Freedman said. “I think it’s a stunning combination for our Commencement. The interesting thing about it was this was in the works before we knew about the Ellipse.”
Freedman said, “President Stephen Joel Trachtenberg asked the Bushes, and they said yes. It was all President Trachtenberg’s doing.”
GW typically announces graduation speakers in the beginning of May. With a venue still uncertain, University officials wanted to create buzz about the graduation event by announcing two big-name speakers early.
Bush served as president from 1989 to 1993 and as Ronald Reagan’s vice president; a congressman from Texas; an ambassador to the United Nations; a chairman of the Republican National Committee; and a director of the Central Intelligence Agency.
His wife Barbara is a notable promoter of literacy and has also worked on fighting homelessness and AIDS.
The Bushes will receive honorary degrees of public service.
-Michael Barnett contributed to this report.