As the nation mourns the passing of President George H.W. Bush, we look back at his visits to Kalamazoo.

WMU Visits 1947 + 1980

Long before George Bush was in the national spotlight, he visited Western Michigan University as a member of the Yale baseball team playing in the 1947 College World Series. The future president played at Hyames Field.

George Bush had accepted the invitation of future President Ronald Regan to join the ticket by September of 1980 when he visited Kalamazoo to stump for local Michigan candidates. The Kalamazoo News of September 24, 1980 carried this story, as archived by the Michigan Digital Newspapers project of Central Michigan University:

GEORGE BUSH Republican Vice Presidential candidate George Bush will be in Kalamazoo, Thursday, Sept. 18 campaigning on behalf of Congressional candidate Jim Gilmore and the Republican Presidential ticket. Bush and Gilmore will speak at a dinner at the Mount Zion Baptist Church located in the north side at 6:30 pm. Also attending the dinner will be Governor William Milliken Following is an appearance by Bush, Gilmore and Milliken on the WMU campus at 7:30 pm. Bush will speak and then take questions from the audience. The public is invited and there will be no charge. The actual site on campus will be announced later.

1992 Stryker Visit

As president George H.W. Bush visited Kalamazoo as part of his re-election campaign. Bush was looking to tout successful manufacturing and his campaign chose Kalamazoo-based Stryker. A company history provides the story of the March 13 visit:

In 1992, President George Bush paid a visit to Kalamazoo to recognize Stryker for its achievements. "Stryker is celebrated across the nation and around the world for the quality of your work and the excellence of the management, the way it's handled," Bush said in an address to Stryker employees. "You're leaders in an innovative industry that makes our country proud."

The text of his full speech is available in Bush's presidential archive of public papers. In addition to his words about Stryker, Bush noted the presense of Kalamazoo mayor Beverly Moore and congressman Fred Upton. The president arrived earlier in the day at Kellogg airport in Battle Creek and made brief remarks there.

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