In April 2013, the long-awaited George W. Bush Presidential Center will at last open to the public.
Brad Cheves, SMU vice president of development and external affairs, is optimistic for the Center’s eventual opening.
“SMU and Dallas [are] the best locations – for accessibility, visibility, constituent support, and association with a distinguished university and a dynamic city,” Cheves said.
However, not all reactions to the center have been positive.
“Some members of the faculty and the United Methodist Church expressed concern about the Bush Institute, because it reports to the foundation and not the university. Their fear was that it would be a partisan entity that did not value freedom of expression, as SMU does,” Cheves said.
The responsibility of allaying these concerns fell to SMU President Turner.
Turner is confident SMU’s academic integrity will foster bipartisanship. According to Cheves, Turner “made it clear that the cherished principles of SMU – academic freedom [and] open dialogue – would not be compromised, and indeed would be enhanced through such a resource for discussion and debate.”
The museum will boast a vast collection of art important to the Bush family. In addition, the library will archive every photograph, document and email pertaining to the Bush administration.
The center will contain more electronic data than all of the other presidential libraries combined, making it the most technologically advanced presidential library of the 21st century.
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