KATHLEEN STEWART

Staff | Director of Special Events

George Bush Photo provided by Joe Ruh
"In May 2006, NKU had the honor of hosting then president George W. Bush on campus. I was the campus liaison for the President's advance team. We had two weeks to erect a stage suitable for a Presidential appearance in Regents Hall, seating for 2000, risers for a throng of national press, a green room for President Bush and his aides in the athletics' suite in Albright Health Center, and a press room for the national and international media in the University Center. Everyone involved, including the 2000 guests, had to have background checks done and go through metal detectors as they entered Regents Hall. The hall itself was chilled down to a brisk 60 degrees so the president wouldn't sweat under the lights and all air handlers had to be shut down during his remarks so the noise wouldn't be an annoyance. I remember being the only NKU representative along with one Facilities person escorting the Secret Service and bomb sniffing dogs through a deserted Regents Hall and Albright Health Center just prior to the doors being opened. My back stage access gave me a greater appreciation for the lengths that the Secret Service takes to ensure the President's safety: sharpshooters on campus rooftops, armed soldiers behind the stage and Kevlar panels disguised as NKU signs set up next to the Presidential podium on stage. President Bush requested some ice for his soft drink (yes he brought his own snacks and drinks) so I was escorted by Secret Service to Food Service to get ice for him. Nothing made it by his Secret Service Team without scrutiny. And they have no sense of humor. All business. Close to the end of President Bush's remarks, one of the advance team members came up to me saying I was needed back stage immediately. Thought I was going to throw up. What was happening?? I see President Votruba being summoned too along with Joe Wind, VP for Community and Government Relations. We were escorted to a pipe and draped area in Albright Center and told to wait there. In walks President George Bush and a photographer. We all got to chat with him for a few minutes and have pictures taken with him. Something I will never forget."