Carl Albert State College has had the honor of hosting three United States Presidents throughout its history as keynote speakers of the Jimmy Carter Presidential Lecture Series.
At the request of the late former Speaker of the House, Carl Albert, President Jimmy Carter, the late President Gerald Ford, and the late President George H.W. Bush have addressed the students, faculty, staff, and community partners of CASC through the lecture series.
On April 8, 1994, President George H.W. Bush addressed a group of southeastern Oklahoma high school students in the morning before his public speech later that morning.
During his first address, President Bush was joined by former Speaker Carl Albert; the two reminded the students that they are the future of America and challenged them to prepare themselves to become the leaders of the 21stcentury.
Following his presentation to the high school students, the President addressed a crowd of more than 5,000, many of whom waited hours in line to hear him speak.
“As I read of the accomplishments of President Bush,” said the late Dr. Joe E. White, former President of CASC, “I was struck by the many significant positions of public service he has held – from Ambassador to the United Nations to Director of the CIA… In every instance, he conducted himself honorably and did his job well. We owe him our gratitude for the many years of public service he has given to our country.”
“I was very much impressed by the lecture,” Dr. White continued. “There were no histrionics, breast beating, or flag waving — just a quiet, straight-from-the-shoulder discussion about what is really important in life.”
After his speech, President Bush fielded questions from a few CASC Scholars students. He was asked a variety of questions from what he would do differently in his recent campaign to what he felt his greatest achievement throughout his presidency was, to which he replied, “Desert Storm.”
Once questions had concluded, a few elected officials in attendance presented President Bush with awards and made proclamations. CASC Head Baseball Coach, Mark Pollard, offered the President a CASC Baseball cap and made him an honorary Viking.
A bronze bust of Carl Albert was then unveiled by President Bush and presented to Carl Albert to be displayed on the first floor of the F.L. Holton Business Center.
“Three things stood out about him and the lessons he related to us,” White said, “decency, integrity, and love of country. They are lessons we should take to heart.”
Success is not a strong enough word to describe the 1994 Carter Lecture Series, said CASC Viking Banner Editor, Ryan McCullah.
“The Lecture Series was a historic event,” McCullah said. “The arrival of former President George Bush at CASC not only made this college the first two-year school in the nation’s history to host three former US Presidents, but after hearing, and possibly even being lucky enough to shake hands with President Bush, those who attended the speech went home feeling that they were taking a little piece of history home with them, too.”
What a blessing for CASC that President Bush and Speaker Albert were such great friends and the President was moved to visit our campus, Dr. White said.
President Bush, like President Carter and President Ford, graciously donated his speaker’s fee back to CASC to benefit the college and its students. In turn, an endowed professorship was established in his honor and is titled the “President George Bush — Endowed Professorship for Teaching Excellence – 1994.”
The faculty, staff, and students of CASC join with the rest of the world to mourn the loss — and remember, a phenomenal leader and humble public servant, President George H.W. Bush, said CASC President Dr. Jay Falkner.