Former President George H.W. Bush and First Lady Barbara Bush will be on the roll call for this year’s Campus Muster Ceremony.
Muster honors Aggies who have passed away in the previous year but also recognizes non-Aggies who had an impact on the community, including faculty and staff. George H.W. Bush, who died Nov. 30, 2018, and Barbara Bush, who died April 17, 2018, will be called on this year’s roll call for the absent and a candle will be lit in their honor.
Jim McGrath, vice president of The George and Barbara Bush Foundation, said one of the reasons Bush wanted to have his presidential library and museum at Texas A&M was because of the devotion to traditions and values of the university.
“Muster is maybe the most emblematic, most solemn embodiment of those values,” McGrath said. “I know they are both looking down from heaven smiling at the prospect that they, who did not officially attend the university, would be taken into the heart of the Texas A&M family in this very, very special way.”
McGrath said the spirit of service at A&M was also important to President Bush.
“There’s a prevailing sense of patriotism, of just a shared set of values,” McGrath said. “It was a special connection for the Bushes and the ceremony that will transpire Monday evening is just the latest sign that we have that the Texas A&M community reciprocates that love.”
Helena Shakesby, human resources management graduate student and chair of the Aggie Muster Committee, said it was an easy decision to include the Bushes in this year’s campus ceremony.
“Their impact was very much tangible,” Shakesby said. “And we felt it was obviously the correct way to show the final respect to members of our Aggie family by honoring President and Mrs. Bush at Muster here on campus and also at the Musters around the country and the world.”
The Bushes will be honored in the same way all Aggies are at Muster, equal with all the names on the roll call.
“We wanted to make sure we balanced the respect for their impact and the magnitude of their roles in American and global history, but also that we show them the same respect that we afford to every Aggie through the tradition of Muster,” Shakesby said.
Maria Peurach, international affairs master’s student at the Bush School of Government and Public Service and president of the Bush School Student Government Association, said when President Bush passed away, it was an emotional time for everyone. Now, she is glad to see him honored at Muster.
“Even though he didn’t attend Texas A&M, we know he was so proud to be associated with Texas A&M,” Peurach said. “He choose A&M to have his library even though he didn’t even go here, so that just says something about how highly he regarded Texas A&M.”
For Peurach, having the Bushes’ names called at Muster will be one of the many honors the late President has received and will hold a special meaning with current and former students in attendance.
“On top of all the other honors and that he’s received, I think to have the entire Texas A&M University to honor him in this way would be one of the biggest,” Peurach said.