There was no shortage of controversy when the leafy, Georgian-styled campus of Southern Methodist University in Dallas, Laura Bush’s alma mater, was chosen as the home for the George W. Bush Presidential Center (see my piece published six years ago today).
Some of the faculty at SMU worried that the Bush Institute in particular, conceived as a place for the study of issues promoted by the 43rd president, would become a partisan think tank clouding the image of a university committed to independent academic research. They were outvoted.
There was serious sentiment among the nation’s Methodist bishops, as the church owns the land on which the university sits, that the campus was no place to honor a president who prosecuted a war in Iraq that many of them opposed. They were outvoted.
Now comes the ribbon-cutting. On May 1, the center housing the institute, presidential library and museum is set to open. On April 25, President Barack Obama and his wife are expected to attend the dedication of the center.
Over the weekend, Dana Perino, Bush’s former press secretary, took a preview tour.
We’re awaiting word on the WMD exhibit. (Is that it in this picture?):
— TheBushCenter (@TheBushCenter) April 8, 2013