News from the Bush School

Bush School Students Help with Obama Visit

November 03, 2009

Several Bush School students played an active role in helping to organize the historic and highly successful visit of President Barack Obama to the Texas A&M University campus on October 16. The president was invited by President George H. W. Bush to take part in a forum on public service celebrating the 20th anniversary of President Bush’s Points of Light Foundation.

Five students—David Ward, Gregory Stevenson, Kristin Childress, Louellen Lowe, and Magdalena Manzano—served as staff to the White House representative in charge of the president’s visit. Ms. Manzano, a second year MPSA student, was designated as the second-in-command to the White House representative, and coordinated the activities of the Bush School volunteers.

Bush School students had a range of responsibilities: some were responsible for crowd control, while others assisted with the check-in of more than 2,500 guests invited by the Points of Light Foundation and the White House. Still others oversaw other student volunteers at the event and made sure seating arrangements were followed.

“Getting the opportunity to work for the White House advance team for President Obama’s visit to the campus was an honor,” Mazano said, “especially since the forum was focused on public service and its importance to our society.  We were all honored to serve as staff members during this historic visit and to represent the Bush School,” she added.

The excitement continued once the public service forum was over, as some thirty Bush School students—including Sue McElheny, Haileigh Meyers, Megan Kenney, Dante Miller, Joshua Murray, Aimee Anderson, Kathleen Nowell, and David Sutton—were invited to an informal meeting with President Bush and Secretary of Defense Robert Gates at Duncan Dining Hall. Duncan was filled with members of the Corps of Cadets, and when the motorcade pulled up to the main door, the cadets and Bush School students were surprised and excited to see President Obama with President Bush and Secretary Gates. Mr. Obama spoke briefly, noting his appreciation for A&M students’ dedication to service and recognizing the Corps’ contributions to the nation’s military through the years. The president and Secretary Gates then circled the huge dining hall, shaking as many hands as possible. 

“It was a tremendous honor to shake hands with the president of the United States, and an experience I won’t soon forget,” said Sue McElheny, MPSA student, class of 2010. “I am grateful to the Bush School for giving me the opportunity to meet and interact with such accomplished leaders as Barack Obama, George Bush, and Robert Gates,” McElheny said.

A transcript of President Obama’s remarks to the public service forum and photos of the event are posted at

A video of the Duncan Dining Hall event is at: