Early life of George W. Bush

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George W. Bush, the oldest child in a family of six children was born in the city of New Haven, Connecticut, grew up in the Texan cities of Midland and Houston. He studied at Yale University and the Harvard Business School before serving in the Texas Air National Guard. Bush would later be part owner and managing partner of the Texas Rangers baseball franchise, become governor of Texas and eventually become the 43rd President of the United States.

Upbringing and education

George W. Bush with parents and siblings in the early 1960s. In the front row, from left to right, stand his younger brothers Neil Bush, Marvin Bush, and Jeb Bush In the back row are his younger sister Doro Bush, himself, his mother Barbara Bush, and father George H. W. Bush)
George W. Bush as a baby with parents.

George Walker Bush, the eldest son of George Herbert Walker Bush and Barbara Bush, was born in New Haven, Connecticut, on July 6, 1946. His paternal ancestors had emigrated from Somerset in the West Country of England to North America in the seventeenth century. They were connected with the Salem witch trials: Mary Parker, executed for witchcraft, was an 8th great-grandmother, and Bush descended from, or was otherwise related to, as many as 217 people involved in the trials.[citation needed]

When Bush was two years old, his father moved the family from New Haven to the town of Odessa in West Texas to begin a career in the oil industry. According to George W., then age two, the family lived in one of the few duplexes in Odessa with an indoor bathroom, which they "shared with a couple of hookers".[1] He was subsequently raised in Midland and Houston, Texas, with siblings Jeb, Neil, Marvin, and Dorothy. A younger sister, Robin, died of leukemia in 1953 at the age of three, when Bush was 7. His parents came to pick him up from school two days after her death; Bush ran up to their car hoping to see Robin with them, and they told him the news. Bush understood that his sister had died, but his younger brother Jeb did not.[2] The family spent the summers and most holidays at the Bush Compound in Maine.

The Midland boyhood home of Bush.

Bush attended Sam Houston Elementary School and San Jacinto Junior High School in Midland, Texas. He later moved to The Kinkaid School in Piney Point Village, Texas for two years. Afterward, like his father, Bush attended Phillips Academy (September 1961–June 1964[3][4][5] and later Yale University (September 1964–May 1968). At Yale, he joined Delta Kappa Epsilon, of which he was president from October 1965 until graduation, and the Skull and Bones secret society; Bush's father George H. W. Bush (1948) and grandfather Prescott S. Bush (1917) were also members of Skull and Bones. Bush was also in the Yale First XV rugby union team in 1968.[6] He was a C student, scoring 77% (with no As and one D, in astronomy) with a grade point average of 2.35 out of a possible 4.00. Bush joked that he was known more for his social life than for his grades.[7] He received a Bachelor of Arts degree in history in 1968. The entire entry from his yearbook read:

GEORGE BUSH. Born July 6, 1946, in New Haven, Connecticut, son of George H.W. Bush (Class of '48) and Barbara Pierce Bush. Prepared at Phillips Academy-Andover, Andover, Massachusetts. Entered Yale, September, 1964. History Major. Resident Member: Davenport (Social Council, 1964-68; Football, 1964-68, Captain, 1967-68; Baseball, 1965-68); Delta Kappa Epsilon, President, 1966-67; Skull and Bones; Inter- Council, 1966-67; Freshman Baseball, 1965; Rugby Club, 1966-68. Roommates: R.J. Dieter, C. Johnson, III, C. Johnson, Jr. Address: Apt. 8, 5000 Longmont Drive, Houston, Texas 77027.

Bush's 1970 application to the University of Texas School of Law was rejected,[8] and after his service in the Texas Air National Guard he entered Harvard Business School in 1973. He graduated with an Masters of Business Administration (MBA) degree in 1975, the first U.S. president with an MBA.


Bush was a keen rugby union player, during high school and Yale University.[9][10] He played at the position of fullback[10] for Yale's 1st XV, and in 1968 was in the Yale team that dramatically defeated Harvard.[9][10]

Service in the Air National Guard

After graduating from Yale University, Bush joined the Texas Air National Guard on May 27, 1968, during the Vietnam War, with a commitment to serve until May 26, 1974. He was promoted to first lieutenant on the November 1970 recommendation of Texas Air National Guard commander Lt. Col. Jerry B. Killian. He served as an F-102 pilot until 1972. Bush was discharged from the Texas Air National Guard and transferred to inactive duty in the Air Force Reserve. He was honorably discharged from the Air Force Reserve on November 21, 1974, at the end of his six-year service obligation.[11]

Alcohol use and DUI arrest

Bush had described his days before his religious conversion in his 40s as his nomadic period and irresponsible youth. Although Bush states that he was not an alcoholic, he has acknowledged that he was "drinking too much".[12]

On September 4, 1976, Bush was arrested for driving under the influence of alcohol near his family's summer home in Kennebunkport, Maine. He admitted his guilt, was fined US$150, and had his driving license in the state briefly suspended.[13]

During the 2000 presidential campaign, Bush said that he gave up drinking after waking up with a hangover after his 40th birthday celebration: "I quit drinking in 1986 and haven't had a drop since then." He ascribed the change in part to a 1985 meeting with Reverend Billy Graham, after which he began serious Bible study, as well as to gentle but persistent pressure from his wife, Laura.[14][15][16]

Family life

Bush and his family

Bush married Laura Welch in 1977. They have fraternal twin daughters, Barbara Pierce Bush and Jenna Welch Bush Hager, born in 1981.


  1. George W. Bush interview with Bob Schieffer on Face the Nation (aired November 9, 2014)
  2. "Tragedy Created Bush Mother-Son Bond". The Washington Post. July 26, 1999.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  3. "History and research." George W. Bush Childhood Home.
  4. "George W. Bush: Living the Bush Legacy". CNN. October 29, 2000. Retrieved 2007-03-18.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  5. Nicholas D. Kristof (June 10, 2000). "George W. Bush's Journey The Cheerleader: Earning A's in People Skills at Andover". The New York Times. Retrieved 2007-06-23.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  6. "Historical Rugby Milestones - 1900s". Rugby Football History. Retrieved July 14, 2006.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  7. "Self-Deprecating Bush Talks to Yale Grads", FoxNews.com, May 21, 2000.
  8. "Bush Chronology". PBS - Frontline. Retrieved 2008-02-10.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  9. 9.0 9.1 Cain, Nick & Growden, Greg "Chapter 21: Ten Peculiar Facts about Rugby" in Rugby Union for Dummies (2nd Edition), p297 (pub: John Wiley and Sons, Chester, England) ISBN 978-0-470-03537-5
  10. 10.0 10.1 10.2 Clarke, Wes Famous Ruggers, retrieved 24th August, 2009
  11. Brit Hume, Mara Liasson, Jeff Birnbaum, Charles Krauthammer (July 9, 2004). "The All-Star Panel Discusses John Kerry's Shifting Positions on Iraq War Spending". Fox News Network (transcript). <templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  12. Kristof, Nicholas, How Bush Came to Tame His Inner Scamp, The New York Times, July 29, 2000
  13. The Smoking Gun: Archive
  14. "In His Own Words: 'I Made Mistakes'". The Washington Post. July 30, 1999. Retrieved May 1, 2010.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  15. "Bush's Life-Changing Year". The Washington Post. July 30, 1999. Retrieved May 1, 2010.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  16. "Bush acknowledges 1976 DUI charge". CNN. November 3, 2000. Retrieved May 1, 2010.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>

External links