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Many Oklahoma State Seniors Glad To Have President Bush At Graduation

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) _ President Bush's upcoming visit to Stillwater for Oklahoma State University's graduation ceremony should be considered an honor no matter what one's political beliefs might be, many OSU seniors say.

While current seniors anticipate Bush's May 6 speech, some OSU graduates recall with fondness two other presidential visits to the campus _ by Richard Nixon in 1974 and George H.W. Bush in 1990.

George W. Bush will speak at 10 a.m. at Boone Pickens Stadium and OSU colleges will follow in the afternoon with convocations, during which graduating seniors will receive their degrees. Attendance at the ceremonies is optional for the 2,700 or so graduating seniors.

Steven Schroeder of Altus, who plans to become a high school history teacher, said Bush's visit is something he'll tell his future students about.

``How many times in your lifetime will you have the opportunity to attend the president giving a speech,'' Schroeder said.

Leah Dillsaver, a landscape architecture major from Morris, said that OSU students ``should all be proud of ourselves for having such a wonderful university that we are able to have President Bush attend for our graduation.''

Some others, like Levi Wilson of Leedey, hope that Bush's remarks are appropriate for a graduation ``since this is a day of celebration for all the students.''

The two previous presidential speeches took different tacks. Nixon, in the midst of the Watergate scandal, received a warm welcome in Stillwater _ so much so that when he returned to Oklahoma to visit Enid after he left office, he insisted on being driven to Stillwater to again see the town.

``One thing about having the president speak at graduation, you never forget the name of the speaker,'' said Patricia Hudson of Purcell, an OSU alumna. ``While (Nixon) was certainly controversial at the time, it was still very special.''

George H.W. Bush delivered a foreign policy address at OSU, during which he said he would cancel further modernization of U.S. nuclear artillery in Europe. Mark Foster, a graduate that year, said he met Bush before the ceremony.

``He was tall, that's what I really remembered,'' said Foster, who's now a minister in Edmond. But he couldn't recall much of Bush's speech.

``When you are about to graduate, you are thinking things like, 'Don't trip,''' he said.
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