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BU envoy transports library bid to capital

Nov. 15, 2005

by KATE MCCLENDON, assistant city editor

Baylor representatives will present their proposal for the George W. Bush Presidential Library at 9 a.m. today in Washington, D.C.

Seven Baylor delegates headed to Washington on Sunday to give the first presentation of the four remaining universities in the running for the library.

"We're just basically going to be presenting Baylor's strongest assets that we believe will be best ... for the library," Larry Brumley, associate vice president for external relations, said in a telephone interview from Washington Monday afternoon.

Other schools vying for the library location include Southern Methodist University, the University of Dallas and Texas Tech University.

"We are in a competitive situation," Brumley said, adding that because of the nature of the circumstances, Baylor officials can't disclose the names of the delegates in Washington or any details of the proposal.

Those hearing the two-and-a-half hour presentation include Don Evans, former U.S. Commerce secretary and head of the library selection committee; Marvin Bush, the president's brother; Ashley Kavanaugh, a coordinator with the selection committee; and Craig Stapleton, the U.S. ambassador to France.

Many believe the decision will come down to Baylor and SMU because first lady Laura Bush is an alumna of SMU and on the board of trustees.

Because Baylor is located near Crawford and on one of the busiest highways in the nation, proponents say Waco would be a good choice for the library.

"I think it would be good for it to be closer to Austin," Jasper senior Jenni Dean said. "And Waco is centrally located between the big cities in Texas, so I think it would be good for it to be here."

Brumley said Baylor officials have already allotted 100 acres for the site on the Brazos River, across from the Sheila and Walter Umphrey Law Center. According to a Nov. 10 article in The Florida Baptist Witness, former president and current Chancellor Robert B. Sloan Jr. hired three consultants before Bush was first elected in 2000 to help Baylor's chances of getting the library.

Other schools have tried to hire the consultants, but they stayed with Baylor to develop a plan for the library.

The consultants hired by Sloan include Don Wilson, the former director of the George Bush Presidential Library Center in College Station; John Fawcett, the director of the presidential library system from 1987 to 1994; and Terry Sullivan, an expert in online archiving.

"Baylor has a good chance, but the Bushes have four outstanding places to choose from," Brumley said.

"Each will be bringing unique assets to the table. It's going to be a stiff competition," he said.