MSSU Remembers George H. W. Bush
Bush Senior first visited the campus in 1988 as a vice president running for office. But his visit to the oval in September of 1992 marked the first visit of a president to Missouri Southern.
As Judy Stiles looks over photos from Bush Senior’s presidential visit to Joplin, she can’t help but reminisce.
“Definitely was a big event, I remember the preparation was a quick turnaround. I think they announced early in the week he was coming, and then he came and it was a big event. We knew it was gonna have national attention, and we felt lucky as a small university, or college station, at that time, to have the media platform,” Stiles, General Manager for KGCS, recalls.
KGCS students filmed alongside major news networks on that historic day, a unique opportunity for all media in attendance.
“Our students were actually able to be off the side of the platform with a field camera to get those shots of the crowd and the side views, and one of them was close enough that as the president comes off, you know he shakes hands with everybody, he shook his hand,” explained Stiles.
The visit came during the 1992 presidential campaign.
“The politics was hot and heavy in that respect, a young governor Clinton was running against Mr. Bush,” explained Brad Belk, Community Historian for Missouri Southern State University.
Belk explains that Bush Senior represented the last president to be a part of WWII.
“He knew more than any president since him, because he served our country in that respect, and so I think he really understood what war was about and what it meant to our country,” said Belk.
The Oval has changed over the years along with the rest of Missouri Southern’s campus but it will always be a historic site for the people here on that day.
“The fact that the national leader came here to Joplin, Missouri, that was one of those things that stays in your mind,” said Stiles.
Bush’s 1992 rally drew a crowd of 15,000 people.