April 23, 2015 4:45PM
Former First Lady Laura Bush spoke to an enthusiastic crowd at Pittsburg State University’s Bicknell Family Center for the Arts on Wednesday. It was an event that many in the audience said they had been eagerly anticipating since they got their tickets months ago.
Mrs. Bush didn’t disappoint them.
She started with an update on the Bush family, noting that former president George H.W. Bush celebrated his 90th birthday by skydiving and Barbara Bush, who will soon be 90, walks her dog on the beach every day.
Bush then turned to some lifelong themes, beginning with the importance of ensuring every child learns to read.
“It’s been the guiding passion of my life,” she said.
In her address and in a question-and-answer session moderated by Kansas Regent Robba Moran, Bush talked about a wide range of topics from important issues of women’s health and education in the developing world to her favorite rooms in the White House.
Kathleen Flannery, interim vice president for university advancement, said is was a great honor to have the former first lady as part of the Women in Government Series.
“It is wonderful to have a speaker like Laura Bush as part of this series,” Flannery said. “It is a rare opportunity for people of the region and we can’t say thank you enough to the donors who helped make this possible.”
Flannery said it was like having a conversation with the former first lady in one’s own living room.
“Mrs. Bush not only shared her passion for some very big, important issues,” Flannery said, “she also helped us feel we had come to know her on a personal level. It was a memorable evening.”
Bush’s appearance was part of PSU’s ongoing Women in Government Lecture Series with major support from the Helen S. Boylan Foundation and other major donors. Previous speakers in the series include Helen Thomas, Kerry Kennedy and Kathleen Sebelius.