May 8, 2024

Walking through the exhibits of the George H.W. Bush Presidential Library and Museum, Chris Allen ’13 fervently shares his favorite stories of the late president.  

By the presidential limousine, he recalls preparing the communication devices in the vehicle before the president rode in it. At the Bush-Quayle ’88 campaign memorabilia exhibit, Allen recounts casting his first-ever vote for the president. And as he walks through the replica of the White House Situation Room, he shares stories of his first days serving the Bush administration shortly after Operation Desert Storm. 

Now a docent at the presidential library, Allen feels the same sense of honor he felt working at the White House Communications Agency more than 30 years ago. For him, the years since serving Bush 41 have been a journey of learning from the president’s legacy that eventually led him to Aggieland.  

Views From the White House 

When Allen began his career in the United States Air Force in the mid ’80s, he didn’t expect to end up at the White House. An aerial photographer for the Air Force Thunderbirds jet team, he spent three years traveling across the country and world, taking photos of the squadron as it performed daring air shows and flyovers that inspired many.

“Everything about the Bush School was and still is top notch,” he said, “and I think that stems from the president and Mrs. Bush and everything they stood for. Their passion for public service shows throughout the school.” 

Finding Home in Aggieland 

Though Allen never stepped foot on campus as a Texas A&M student, it wasn’t long until his passion led him to College Station. “Throughout my professional career, I knew I wanted to volunteer at President Bush’s library when I retired,” he shared. 

As he considered opportunities to connect with the Bush Library, a tragic event inspired him to make a significant investment in Aggieland. His wife, Leigh, passed away from terminal cancer, which prompted Allen to ensure his own affairs were in line. “Through my wife’s journey with cancer, I began to seriously think about my charitable goals,” he said. “I knew I wanted to provide scholarship support to Texas A&M, so one of my first calls was to the Texas A&M Foundation.”