College of Liberal Arts | Spring 2021

Insights from the White House

Former First Lady Laura Bush and daughters Barbara Pierce Bush and Jenna Bush Hager will offer their perspectives on public service and share stories from life in the White House when they visit Purdue on Oct. 18 as part of the Louis Martin Sears Lecture Series presented by the College of Liberal Arts and the Department of History.

“Women in the White House and Beyond: A Conversation with Mrs. Laura W. Bush, Barbara Pierce Bush and Jenna Bush Hager” will be hosted by associate professor of history Kathryn Brownell, who will facilitate the conversation.

“I am looking forward to hearing the different perspectives of women who have been instrumental in shaping human rights initiatives, and discussing how they used their experiences from the White House to shape global policy discussions about education and healthcare,” Brownell said.

Mrs. Bush is an advocate for literacy, education and women’s rights. After leaving the White House, President and Mrs. Bush founded the George W. Bush Presidential Center in Dallas, Texas. The center is home to the Bush Presidential Museum and Library and the George W. Bush Institute, a public policy center established to solve today’s most pressing challenges by developing leaders, advancing policy and taking action. As Chair of the Bush Institute’s Women’s Initiative, Mrs. Bush promotes access to education, healthcare, and economic opportunity for women and girls around the world.

Both daughters of former President George W. Bush and Mrs. Bush remain active in global philanthropy. Barbara is the CEO and co-founder of Global Health Corps, which endeavors to solve the world’s biggest health problems. Jenna has been involved with UNICEF since interning with the organization in 2006 and writing the New York Times best-seller, Ana’s Story: A Journey of Hope, based upon the life of a struggling, 17-year-old single mother with HIV.

“I’m really interested in how they’ve been able to carve out their own spheres of influence,” Brownell said.

Purdue historian Louis Martin Sears established a trust in 1950 that created an annual series of free lectures on American diplomatic history or international relations. Sears served as a faculty member in the then-joint Department of History and Political Science from 1920 to 1956 and authored numerous books.