Dec. 6, 2005

Commencement 2006

GW Announces Commencement on the Mall, Names Former First Couple as Speakers for 2006

President Stephen Joel Trachtenberg recently announced The George Washington University’s 2006 Commencement Ceremonies will be held on the National Mall near the United States Capitol May 21. Graduates and their guests will be seated on the National Mall, between 4th and 7th streets, with views of both the US Capitol and the Washington Monument.

President Trachtenberg also announced former President George Herbert Walker Bush and former First Lady Barbara Bush will be the featured speakers at Commencement. President and Mrs. Bush will receive honorary degrees for their decades of public service. This Commencement will mark the 60th anniversary of President Harry S Truman’s 1946 Commencement address to the GW graduating class that included his own daughter Margaret.

“President and Mrs. Bush represent role models for generations,” said Trachtenberg. “Their dedication to public service; their strength as individuals and as a couple; their strong family values and their faith in America have left an indelible, positive mark on our country and the world. We are honored to have them address our 2006 graduating class.

“The combination of the National Mall as our primary site and former President George Bush and former First Lady Barbara Bush as our keynote speakers sets the stage for an extraordinary weekend for our graduates and their families.”

The National Park Service officially notified the University Sept. 19 that the Ellipse, home to GW’s Commencement since 1992, would not be available next May as a result of the first major renovation of the site in more than 60 years. The MCI Center, Robert F. Kennedy Memorial Stadium, and several other sites were among the other locations considered by the University. As in past years, GW will continue to pursue the MCI Center as the backup site in the event of severe weather.

George Herbert Walker Bush served as America’s 41st president and as vice president during both of Ronald Reagan’s terms in office. Bush also represented Texas in Congress for two terms, was ambassador to the United Nations, chair of the Republican National Committee, chief of the US Liaison Office in the People’s Republic of China, and director of the Central Intelligence Agency.

As First Lady, Barbara Bush called working for a literate America the “most important issue we have.” She became honorary chair of the Barbara Bush Foundation for Family Literacy. A strong advocate of volunteerism, Mrs. Bush has helped many causes including the homeless, AIDS, the elderly, and school volunteer programs.

GW last hosted a current or former member of the First Family as an honorary degree recipient at Commencement in 1994 when Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D–NY), then first lady, gave the keynote address.

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