jebbush

Jeb Bush on the 2016 campaign trail in Nashua, N.H.

Credit: Carter Coudriet

Another national politician is making his way onto Penn’s campus this year. 

Former Governor of Florida and 2016 presidential candidate Jeb Bush has been appointed a non-resident Presidential Professor of Practice for the 2018-19 academic year. Affiliated with the Andrea Mitchell Center for the Study of Democracy at Penn, Bush is scheduled to visit campus approximately once or twice a month to participate in classes, campus events, and other major Penn functions throughout the year. He will not be spending the majority of his time on campus.

Bush is the second high-ranking national politician to be appointed the special professorship after former Vice President Joe Biden, who became the Benjamin Franklin Presidential Practice Professor in February 2017. 

On Oct. 17, Bush will be speaking at a Penn Political Union event, Andrea Mitchell Center Director and Political Science professor Jeffrey Green wrote in an email to The Daily Pennsylvanian. As of 2017, PPU has been a part of the Andrea Mitchell Center, which funds PPU and its event speakers. Green referred to the event held by PPU as "one of them major new initiatives of the Mitchell Center."

"I am especially excited about the prospect of Governor Bush interacting with students at Penn, as one of the Mitchell Center’s recent aims has been to expand programs that bring students into conversation with prominent outside speakers regarding the urgent political questions facing democracies today," Green wrote.

“Governor Bush is a man of exceptional character who has committed his life to public service and civic engagement,” said Penn President Amy Gutmann in a press release. “As the 43rd governor of Florida from 1999 through 2007, Governor Bush championed policies to stimulate economic growth and create jobs, lower government spending, transform education, and dramatically expand conservation of the Everglades.”

Bush’s primary affiliation at Penn will be with the Andrea Mitchell Center, located in the new Perelman Center for Political Science and Economics which opened at the beginning of the school year. The Center, founded in 2017, is a recent addition to Penn and is meant to be a non-partisan space dedicated to studying civil values, democracy, and the constitution and their applications to today’s issues. 

Bush was last seen on campus in February, when he spoke at a two-hour forum alongside Biden and Penn President Amy Gutmann about immigration policy. 

“Bringing national leaders from diverse political viewpoints to Penn advances knowledge-based public policy on challenging societal questions,” said Provost Wendell Pritchett in a press release. “We welcome Governor Bush’s unique perspective on the important issues of our day.”

College junior Ryan DelGaudio, who is from Bush’s state of Florida, said he is excited by the prospect of having two high-level, respected politicians from both sides of the political spectrum on campus at Penn.

“While I do not agree with many of Governor Bush’s policy positions, I applaud the University administration’s decision to name Governor Bush a Presidential Practice Professor,” DelGaudio said. “I hope Penn will uphold its commitment to hold regular and productive engagements between Governor Bush and the wider University community.” 

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