Looking back at George H.W. Bush's visit to Albion College and his legacy

patrick mclean.jpg
Looking back at George H.W. Bush's visit to Albion College and his legacy.

Throughout the years of his political career George H.W. Bush made a handful of stops in West Michigan including Albion College where he gave the 1987 commencement speech.

Albion College Gerald R. Ford Institute for Leadership in Public Policy and Service Director Patrick McLean said both Gerald R. Ford and Bush had many similarities, but one stick out the most to him.

"We're proud of having him here. I think as time goes on history will judge them very well as part of their commitment to public service," McLean said.

McLean said Bush understood the importance of the core elements of the United States.

"He wanted to be the education president and had a strong emphasis on that. He also had a strong interest in the environment," said McLean.

Bush spoke about the importance of ethics and education to the 350 graduating seniors in 1987.

"I think both of those topics talk a lot about what was important to him. Not just in that particular speech but I think what drove him as his thinking of a leader and his role as president in society," McLean said.

McLean said he hopes lessons of Bush's life and leadership live on as the former president is laid to rest.

"He was not perfect by any stretch but I think some of the ways he conducted himself and the ways his instincts were such on the international stage we could learn a lot from that," said McLean.

McLean said Bush was known for calling international leaders in his free time to listen to what they had to say about their part of the world. McLean said those phone calls aided international support.

The 41st presidents' legacy is still felt across the nation.

"In the future education is going to be America's most effective economic program. It'll be our most effective trade program. It'll be our most productive jobs and anti-poverty program," said then Vice President George H.W. Bush on May 9, 1987.