BUSH, LAURA WELCH (1946 ~ ) Laura Welch Bush, wife of President George W. Bush, was born on November 4, 1946, in Midland, Texas to Harold and Jenna Welch. Mrs. Bush, who earned a degree in education from Southern Methodist Univeristy in Dallas, has taught in public schools in Dallas, Houston and Austin. She also has a Master of Library Science degree from the University of Texas at Austin. After meeting George W. Bush at a barbecue in Midland, they were married in 1977. In 1981, the Bushs became the proud parents of twin daughters, Barbara and Jenna, who are named after their grandmothers.
The day before her husband was first sworn in as Texas' Governor, Mrs. Bush hosted seven Texas authors who read from their books at the University of Texas' Harry Ransom Center. These readings offered Texans a preview of one of Mrs. Bush's primary interests, literacy, which she promoted as First Lady of Texas. Mrs. Bush's background as a teacher and librarian and her lifelong passion for reading have been the motivating forces behind her advocacy of literacy for all Texans.
Mrs. Bush launched an early childhood development initiative in 1998 to help parents and caregivers prepare infants and young children for reading and learning before they enter school. The initiative included a family reading project for Texas, a collaborative effort with the Barbara Bush Foundation for Family Literacy.
Mrs. Bush helped organize a celebration of Texas books and authors called the Texas Book Festival in 1996. The festival has become an annual fund-raiser for Texas public libraries. During the last three years, approximately 230 Texas public libraries have received Texas Book Festival grants totaling nearly $600,000.
Mrs. Bush also highlights breast cancer awareness and works with the National Governors Association's Governor's Spouse Program to promote women's health. She works with Community Partners, the volunteer arm of the Department of Protective and Regulatory Services, to establish Adopt-A-Caseworker programs and Rainbow Rooms across the state. Rainbow Rooms are community resource rooms that provide abused and neglected children with basic necessities, including clothing and diapers.
Mrs. Bush also promotes the arts, showcasing the works of Texas artists in her office with year-round exhibits. She serves on several boards, including the University of Texas Graduate School of Library and Information Science Foundation Advisory Council and the national Reading is Fundamental Advisory Council.
Information provided by Laura Welch Bush.