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Laura W. Bush to headline Union’s 13th annual Scholarship Banquet

Laura Bush will speak at Union's 13th annual Scholarship Banquet Oct. 19.
Laura Bush will speak at Union's 13th annual Scholarship Banquet Oct. 19.

JACKSON, Tenn.June 9, 2010 – Former First Lady Laura Bush will be the keynote speaker for Union University’s 13th annual Scholarship Banquet Oct. 19 at the Carl Perkins Civic Center in Jackson, Tenn.

“We are thrilled to welcome Mrs. Bush to Union University,” Union President David S. Dockery said. “We have always admired her gracious spirit and her long time advocacy for education and libraries. It will be a special treat for Union students and friends to have the former First Lady at the annual Scholarship Banquet event.”

Mrs. Bush is actively involved in issues of national and global concern, with a particular emphasis on education, health care and human rights. As First Lady, she made a historic trip to Afghanistan in 2005 and witnessed firsthand the progress achieved by the Afghan people after the fall of the Taliban regime.

A former teacher and librarian, Mrs. Bush convened in 2001 a Summit on Early Childhood Cognitive Development, providing a forum for prominent scholars and educators to share research on the best ways for parents and caregivers to prepare children for lifelong learning. She is an enthusiastic proponent of teacher recruitment programs such as Teach for America, The New Teacher Project and Troops to Teachers.

Mrs. Bush’s recently published memoir, “Spoken From the Heart,” is a New York Times best seller. Born in Midland, Texas, Mrs. Bush holds a Bachelor of Science degree in education from Southern Methodist University and a master’s degree in library science from the University of Texas. She taught in public schools in Dallas, Houston and Austin and worked as a public school librarian. In 1977, she met and married George Walker Bush. They are the parents of twin daughters, Barbara and Jenna and son-in-law, Henry Hager.

The annual Scholarship Banquet has become one of the premier events in West Tennessee each year, and is Union’s primary fund raising event for its student scholarship fund. Previous speakers have included George H.W. Bush, Margaret Thatcher, Condoleezza Rice, Mikhail Gorbachev, Rudolph Giuliani and Colin Powell, among others.

All told, Union’s Scholarship Banquets have generated about $5 million for student scholarships.

This year’s lead and premier sponsors include BancorpSouth, Keith and Beverly Absher, Roy and Martha White, Black and Decker, First Bank, Jack and Zan Holmes, The Jackson Sun, Jack and Faye Porter, West Tennessee Healthcare, Northwestern Mutual Financial Network/Rod and Amy Parker, Lou and Rosemary Oberndorf, Thad and Alicia Smotherman, Nortek Inc./Lloyd and Martha Hansen, Impact 360/John and Trudy (Cathy) White, Carl and Alice Kirkland, Harry and Beth Smith and David and Lanese Dockery.

Sponsorship opportunities are available at all levels. For ticket information, including table sponsorships and individual balcony seating, contact Union’s Office of University Relations at (731) 661-5050.

Media contact: Tim Ellsworth, news@uu.edu, 731-661-5215

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