January 9, 2024

Lauren Champion ’24 has seen firsthand the powerful impact that an arts education can have on young minds. The former Denton ISD and Grand Prairie ISD theater director marveled as a diverse group of middle school students put aside their differences to become a cohesive team working on a one-act play. And she’s witnessed second graders question why the Montagues and Capulets were being mean to each other after watching an age-appropriate production of “Romeo and Juliet.”

Wanting to play a part in helping more youngsters have these types of experiences, Champion began considering her career options. Eventually, she settled on the idea of working for a nonprofit that financially supports groups involved in arts education, child welfare, youth development, ministry and human rights.

But Champion knew she would need to learn more about nonprofits and philanthropy to successfully transition from K-12 teacher to development officer. That realization led her to Texas A&M University’s Bush School of Government and Public Service, which attracted her because of President George H.W. Bush’s commitment to public service and humility.

Yet, Champion wasn’t sure she could financially afford graduate school, and because she suffers from a chronic illness, she was concerned whether she could juggle the rigors of graduate school with working full time. Fortunately, the Argyle, Texas, resident received a scholarship that is defraying her college costs, allowing her to pursue a Master of Public Service and Administration with a focus on nonprofit management and a concentration in fundraising. “When I was notified about the scholarship, I realized the Lord had made it clear that I should take this opportunity,” she said. “The scholarship truly helped me in immense ways.”

This campaign also underscores the school’s commitment to continuing President Bush’s legacy by preparing the next generation of public servants. “For the last 25 years, the Bush School has taken pride in developing public servants for the state, nation and world. Historically, over 75% of our graduate students have gone into public service,” said acting Dean Frank Ashley III. “With the recent addition of undergraduate programs in political science, international studies and international affairs, as well as the public service and administration undergraduate program beginning in fall 2024, we can now triple the number of graduates to fulfill President Bush’s vision of individuals pursuing careers dedicated to serving others. These scholarships will help defray the cost for students who believe that public service is a noble calling and want to carry out that vision.”

A Principled Education

The Bush School was steeped in the concept of public service from its founding in 1997. President Bush took a hands-on approach, advocating for the inclusion of leadership and management in the curriculum and emphasizing a nonpartisan and principled approach that encouraged compromise.

That approach was evident in the slate of international and national policymakers—including German Chancellor Helmut Kohl, U.S. Senator Edward Kennedy and U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice—who visited the school over the years. Many of these leaders not only served as keynote speakers to full auditoriums but also as guest instructors where they interacted with Bush School students.


The implementation of President Bush’s educational vision for the school has led to an enviable record of recognition. The Bush School consistently receives top educational ratings, including being ranked among the top 10% of public affairs programs in 2024 by U.S. News & World Report.

Investing in Service

The former president’s wide network has also invested in the school’s programs and students, which has resulted in the school receiving recognition for its affordability. And that group of donors, which has continued to grow over the years, now includes Angela ’85 and Kerry Stein ’85.