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American U Brings First Ladies Conference to Dallas

American University and The George W. Bush Center will host America’s First Ladies: An Enduring Vision on March 5, 2012 featuring former First Ladies Mrs. Laura Bush and Mrs. Barbara Bush, Pulitzer Prize winning author and Presidential historian Doris Kearns Goodwin, and Emmy Award-winning journalist Cokie Roberts. The complete conference agenda is below.   

For members of the media and others unable to attend the event at the George W. Bush Center, the event will be live video streamed at: Additionally, there is a Twitter hashtag: #usfirstladies

American University’s School of Public Affairs executive in residence, Anita McBride, former Assistant to President George W. Bush and Chief of Staff to First Lady Laura Bush from 2005 to 2009 and First Ladies conference chairperson, is available for interviews to discuss the event, her experience, and the role a candidate’s spouse plays during a presidential campaign.

McBride is the catalyst for launching the series of First Lady conferences which began in March 2011 to coincide with Women’s History Month at American University with the inaugural: The Legacies of America’s First Ladies.  The George W. Bush Center event is the second of three taking place in Texas since three presidential libraries are located in Texas.  The next conference is slated for the LBJ Library in November 2012 before the conference tour continues in Michigan in 2013.  American University is the founding co-sponsor of the series which explores the role of First Ladies and their staffs.


WHEN: Monday, March 5, 2012, 8:15 a.m. – 2:30 p.m.

WHO: Mrs. Laura Bush, Mrs. Barbara Bush, President George W. Bush, Doris Kearns Goodwin, Cokie Roberts, among others

WHERE: James M. Collins Executive Education Center Crum Auditorium, SMU

America’s First Ladies: An Enduring Vision
Southern Methodist University
March 5, 2012

Schedule of Events
James M. Collins Executive Education Center
9:00 a.m. – 9:15 a.m. Opening Remarks, First Lady Job Description, and Acknowledgements
Anita McBride, Conference Chair, executive in residence, School of Public Affairs American University.

Welcome from Southern Methodist University
Gerald Turner, President

Greeting from American University
Neil Kerwin, President

Welcome from George W. Bush Presidential Library & Museum and Introduction of Panel One
Alan Lowe, Director

9:15 a.m. – 10:15 a.m. Panel One: Influence Makers: First Ladies through American History
Moderator: Cokie Roberts
Panelists: Catherine Allgor
Allida Black
Amity Shlaes

10:15 a.m. – 11:15 a.m. Introduction of Panel Two
Warren Finch, Director, George Bush Presidential Library and Museum
Panel Two: Behind the Scenes in the East Wing: Social Secretaries to the First Ladies
Moderator: Richard Norton Smith
Panelists: Bess Abell
Laurie Firestone
Cathy Fenton

12:00 p.m. – 1:00 p.m. Introduction of Panel Three
Jodie Steck, AV Archives Specialist, George W. Bush Presidential Library and Museum
Panel Three: Behind the Images: Photographers’ Views of the First Ladies
Moderator: Mark Updegrove
Panelists: David Hume Kennerly
Carol Powers
Susan Sterner

1:15 p.m. – 1:25 p.m. Introduction of President Bush
Mark Langdale, President, George W. Bush Foundation

Remarks by President George W. Bush;
Introduction of Mrs. Barbara Bush, Mrs. Laura Bush, and Doris Kearns Goodwin

1:25 p.m. – 2:25 p.m. A Moderated Conversation: Reflections of First Ladies Mrs. Barbara Bush and Mrs. Laura Bush

2:25 p.m. – 2:30 p.m. Closing Remarks
Alan Lowe

American University is a leader in global education, enrolling a diverse student body from throughout the United States and nearly 140 countries. Located in Washington, D.C., the university provides opportunities for academic excellence, public service, and internships in the nation’s capital and around the world.