Christopher Buckley, Former Bush Speechwriter and Best-Selling Author, Delivers 5th Annual George and Barbara Bush Lecture at University of New England

Share Article

The 41st President of the United States, George H.W. Bush, and Mrs. Barbara Bush were in attendance as UNE President Danielle Ripich announced their $500,000 gift to the University.

41st U.S. President George H.W. Bush and Mrs. Barbara Bush

He took a boyish delight from kicking his own pedestals out from beneath him...and is the most considerate man I have ever known.Christopher Buckley, speaking about George H.W. Bush

Christopher Buckley, former vice-presidential speechwriter for George H. W. Bush and acclaimed author, presented the University of New England’s 5th Annual George and Barbara Bush Distinguished Lecture tonight at the Harold Alfond Forum on UNE’s Biddeford Campus.

Both the former president and first lady attended, as well as members of the UNE community and public.

UNE President Danielle N. Ripich, who offered welcoming remarks, announced that the Bushes have recently made a $500,000 gift to UNE. The donation will support programming associated with the university’s George and Barbara Bush Center, which opened on UNE’s Biddeford Campus in 2008. It will also facilitate further collaboration between UNE and the Bush Presidential Library at Texas A&M University.

“We are immensely grateful for this generous donation that provides sustaining support for the annual Bush Lecture Series, the exhibits in the Bush Legacy Library, and other programming,” Ripich said. “The impact of the Bush family goes beyond their generosity to the compassion they have shown…”

Ripich announced that UNE will be providing the Maine chapter of the Barbara Bush Foundation for Family Literacy with office space on UNE’s Portland Campus.    

Buckley, who began a two-year stint as George H. W. Bush’s speechwriter in 1981 during his time as vice president, began by playfully asking the crowd of students and community members on hand, “Would you please turn your cell phones back on?”

His lecture, titled “The Vishnu,” went on to include other both humorous as well as touching behind-the-scenes stories from his time working at the vice president’s side and from his long friendship with the Bushes.

Buckley conveyed memories from his days riding Airforce Two with the vice presidential entourage when Mrs. Bush would stroll down the center aisle in her casual attire handing out chocolate chip cookies to the vice president’s staff, and of his visits and conversations with the Bushes in the decades since.

Buckley spoke at length of his fondness for both President and Mrs. Bush. He said, “It was love at first sight and has been ever since,” of Mrs. Bush, calling her a “heroine.”

Of the former president he said, “He took a boyish delight from kicking his own pedestals out from beneath him,” and went on to call President Bush “the most considerate man I have ever known.”

About the University of New England
UNE is an innovative health sciences university grounded in the liberal arts with two distinctive coastal Maine campuses and a campus in Tangier, Morocco. UNE has internationally recognized scholars in the sciences, health, medicine and the humanities; offers more than 40 undergraduate, graduate and professional degree programs; and is home to Maine’s only medical and dental schools. It is one of a select group of private universities with a comprehensive health education mission that includes medicine, pharmacy, dental medicine, nursing and an array of allied health professions. Visit

About the George and Barbara Bush Distinguished Lecture Series
Buckley is the fifth lecturer in the George and Barbara Bush Distinguished Lecture Series, an annual event honoring the legacy of President and Mrs. Bush as political and community leaders. Since its inception in 2010, UNE has hosted Her Highness Sheikha Moza bint Nasser of Qatar, Lieutenant General Brent Scowcroft, former White House Chief of Staff Andrew Card, and NBC News Correspondent Jenna Bush Hager in this series.

About Christopher Buckley
The son of William F. Buckley Jr., founder of National Review, Buckley spent 29 years in Washington, D.C., writing for such publications as The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post, The Financial Times, Vanity Fair, The New Yorker, National Review, The New Republic, The Atlantic Monthly and Time. He is also the author of New York Times best-sellers like the satirical novel The White House Mess and Thank You for Smoking. He has lectured in more than 70 cities around the world and has been awarded both the Thurber Prize for American Humor and the Washington Irving Medal for Literary Excellence.

Share article on social media or email:

View article via:

Pdf Print

Contact Author

Kathleen Taggersell
Visit website