The University of New England celebrates the life of President George H.W. Bush

President and Mrs. Bush at the George and Barbara Bush Distinguished Lecture in 2013
President and Mrs. Bush at the George and Barbara Bush Distinguished Lecture in 2013.

The University of New England was saddened to learn of the passing of its friend and neighbor, former U.S. President George H.W. Bush. 

“It’s been said that America will never know another generation like the one to which George H.W. Bush belonged,” said UNE President James D. Herbert. “At UNE, we came to know two people – President and Mrs. Bush -- who epitomized the Greatest Generation. With his committed dedication to public service, good humor and unfailing optimism, President Bush inspired our students and staff. He will be missed.”

The remarkable life of the 41st president of the United States will be celebrated nationally in the days ahead, no doubt. President Bush will be remembered as a statesman nonpareil, a war hero, a devoted husband of more than seven decades, and a dedicated father. But at UNE, he will be remembered, first and foremost, as a friend and neighbor.

As the President and former first lady Barbara Bush made Walker’s Point their summer home in the years following their stay in the White House, it was not uncommon for them to ride their boat, the Fidelity, up the coast to fish just off of UNE’s shores, or to visit former UNE President Danielle Ripich.  

After forging a partnership with the George H. W. Bush Presidential Library and Bush School of Government and Public Service at Texas A&M University, UNE opened its George and Barbara Bush Center in 2008. Overlooking the scenic Saco River on UNE’s Biddeford Campus, the Bush Center houses a statue of the president, photographs and paintings of the president and first lady, and other artifacts celebrating the Bushes’ love of the Maine coast.  

On the occasion of the Bush Center’s unveiling on October 3, 2008, President Bush told the crowd of students and faculty on hand, “Barbara and I are thrilled the University of New England’s new Center will bear our names. The University is a wonderful institution and a special neighbor. The coast of Maine has always been ‘our anchor to windward.’” It is for this reason that an authentic navy anchor sits just outside a café on the first floor of the Bush Center, aptly named the Windward Café.

Two years later, in 2010, UNE inaugurated the George and Barbara Bush Distinguished Lecture Series, an annual event honoring the legacy of President and Mrs. Bush as political and community leaders. The former president and first lady attended the lecture each year, prior to heading back to Texas for the winter, until failing health forced them to miss the event for the first time in 2016.

To learn more about President Bush’s enduring legacy at UNE, visit and