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Former first lady Laura Bush to speak at Ivy Tech's O'Bannon Institute

By Bob Zaltsberg
331-4364 |

December 15, 2009

Former first lady Laura Bush will be one of the featured speakers at the O'Bannon Institute for Community Service next spring on the Ivy Tech Community College campus in Bloomington.

Laura Bush

John Whikehart, chancellor of the Bloomington campus, said today that Bush's appearance will fit perfectly with the institute's theme for 2010, "literacy in education."

She is scheduled to speak at a dinner on April 8.

Bush, wife of former President George W. Bush, used her role as first lady to champion the benefits of reading. A former public school teacher and librarian, she launched an early childhood development initiative called Ready to Read, Ready to Learn. As part of the initiative, she hosted two White House summits that brought together researchers and practitioners to work on issues related to childhood development.

She also has lent her name to the Laura Bush Foundation for America's Libraries.

Whikehart said her appearance at the seventh annual O'Bannon Institute will mark "one of those ah-ha moments for Ivy Tech." He said it underscores the transformation that has taken place as Ivy Tech has become a comprehensive community college.

The O'Bannon Institute each year focuses on community service, service learning, and civic engagement. It includes panels and speakers on topics of local, regional and national interest. Whikehart said other speakers are still being lined up.

The institute is named for the late Indiana Gov. Frank O'Bannon, who played a pivotal role in the formation of Indiana's community college system. Previous O'Bannon Institute speakers include former U.S. Sens. Birch Bayh, Alan Simpson and George McGovern; presidential historian Doris Kearns Goodwin; former Maryland Lt. Gov. Kathleen Kennedy Townsend; and national political journalists Eugene Robinson, Sam Donaldson and Paul Begala.

Copyright: 2009