Former First Lady Barbara Bush, who died Tuesday at the age of 92, left her mark on Wellesley in 1990 when she was chosen as Wellesley College’s commencement speaker.
Her choice as the speaker sparked a student protest focused on Mrs. Bush not representing the sort of career woman that the protesters aspired to become. Wellesley grads also spoke out, such as in this Orlando Sentinel column (“Wellesley grad: Barbara Bush has no place at Commencement”)
In her speech, Mrs. Bush urged that diversity be embraced and that students think beyond themselves.
“At the end of your life, you will never regret not having passed one more test, not winning one more verdict or not closing one more deal. You will regret time not spent with a husband, a child, a friend or a parent,” she said.
Mrs. Bush also shared her wish to see a new kind of U.S. president someday (“Somewhere out in this audience may even be someone who will one day follow in my footsteps, and preside over the White House as the President’s spouse. I wish him well!”). Video of speech is here.
Mrs. Bush was followed at the podium by Raisa Gorbachev, the late wife of former Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev.
Their tag-team effort has been memorialized on the Wellesley College campus via this plaque seen on an out-of-the-way staircase.