Yale Bulletin
and Calendar


George H.W. Bush (right) chats with (from left) President Richard C. Levin, Professor Paul Kennedy, graduate student Maria Invanova and Peter Mazza '01.

Bush Sr. Recalls Challenges of the Oval Office

Former U.S. President George H.W. Bush '48 B.A. was the featured speaker in a session on "Yale and Public Service," held as part of the Alumni Leadership Convocation "300 Years of Creativity and Discovery" in April of 2001.

In an informal discussion before a packed Woolsey Hall, Bush looked back on his years at Yale and in the White House, offering up anecdotes that ranged from the personal to the political.

The Yale alumnus described his negotiations with Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev over the union's occupation of East Germany. While the U.S. allies in France and England thought it might be too soon to press the Soviets to withdraw, recalled Bush, it was Gorbachev himself who first suggested granting the country "self-determination."

"I honestly believe that the fall of the Berlin Wall and the unification of Germany was a landmark for the end of the Cold War," said Bush, noting that the subsequent collapse of the Soviet Union "happened more rapidly than we thought it would."

He cautioned that it is important for the United States to remain engaged with Russia and the other countries of the world. "The U.S. has to reach out. We can't treat everyone else with arrogance because we're the only superpower," he said.

He cautioned, however, about relying too heavily on the United Nations to resolve conflicts and keep the peace, noting, "You can't be too starry-eyed about what the U.N. can do."

Noting with pride that his sons Jeb and George W. are pursuing their own careers in public service (as governor of Florida and U.S. president, respectively), Bush said he advises all young men and women to consider careers in the government or nonprofit institutions. "There is no definition of a successful life that does not include service to others," he said.


Gala Weekend Concludes University's Tercentennial

Yale at 300

Alumni Presidents

President Levin Launches Joint Initiatives Between Yale and China During Trip

'Gender Matters' Looks at Women's Evolving Roles

Yale Experts Explore Interweaving Histories of Yale and U.S. in DeVane Series

Celebrating Yale's 300th Around the Nation and Around the World

Building Partnerships for a Stronger New Haven

Bush Sr. Recalls Challenges of the Oval Office

Yale Honors Latest 'Son of Eli' in White House

Clinton: U.S. Will Prevail Against Terrorism

Zedillo decries 'shameful trend of increasing polarization'

Alumni economists discuss U.S. economic prosperity

Yale Alumni in the News