Pageantry has become a trademark of nearly all the presidential visits that have happened at NC State over the years, whether it was President Lyndon Johnson’s visit in 1964 or President Barack Obama’s in 2011.
But that wasn’t the case on this day in 1990, when President George H.W. Bush visited campus and made no public appearances.
Instead, Bush spent his morning in Cox Hall touring two physics labs used in microelectronics research. He then joined a roundtable discussion with executives from the five top U.S. microelectronics firms who informed him how they were competing in an international market.
The visit was seen as a way to show Bush’s commitment to strengthen scientific education in the country. “I came her to learn and to listen and I started learning the minute I walked into those labs,” Bush said at the end of the roundtable discussion. “I learned not only a tiny bit about the science, but I also learned a lot about the dedication of the people that are teaching this generation of young aspiring Ph.D.’s. It’s been a good day.”
Bush also had a good day on NC State’s campus in April 1948, when he was a first-baseman for Yale’s baseball team that beat State, 9-6. “George Bush, Yale’s husky first sacker, racked up three hits…,” reads a 1948 News & Observer recap of that game. “He had a single, double and triple in his collection.”