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  • June 9, 2019
  • June 14, 2020
  • June 13, 2021
  • June 12, 2022

Dartmouth 2011 Honorary Degree Recipient: The Honorable George H.W. Bush (Doctor of Laws)

GEORGE HERBERT WALKER BUSH, your life of public service began early. When Japan attacked Pearl Harbor you delayed college to become, at 18, the youngest aviator in the Navy, flying 58 combat missions. During one mission, your aircraft was struck by flak. With your engine aflame, you completed your bombing run first before you ditched in the Pacific. After the War you graduated from Yale—and then declined the security of the East Coast for the life of a wildcatter in the oil fields of West Texas. When your ventures prospered, you sold your share of the business, dedicating yourself to what would become one of the most distinguished careers of public service in the history of this Republic.

Member of Congress. Ambassador to the United Nations. Chairman of the Republican National Committee. Chief of the United States Liaison Office in the People's Republic of China. Director of Central Intelligence. Vice President of the United States. President of the United States.

You worked with Democrats and Republicans alike to enact landmark legislation, including the Clean Air Act and the Americans with Disabilities Act. As the Cold War came to an end, you negotiated the reunification of Germany and extended support to elected governments throughout Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union. In 1990, you signed into law the Clery Act, which brought national attention to sexual assault, and paved the way for all colleges to become safer and more just.

"I have just repeated…the oath taken by George Washington," you said during your inaugural address, "and the Bible on which I placed my hand is the Bible on which he placed his."

Like Washington, you command our gratitude not only for your accomplishments, but also for your example: love of country, devotion to family, integrity, and selflessness. In the magnificent life of the forty-first President of the United States of America, Dartmouth will forever join all Americans in finding a source of inspiration and courage.

George Herbert Walker Bush, in recognition of your fearless contributions to the military effort during World War II and your tangible impact on a post-Cold War Europe, Dartmouth proudly awards you the honorary degree Doctor of Laws.

Last Updated: 3/17/16