Mon, May 24, 2004 - Page 7 News List

Bush daughters skip graduation bashes


US President George W. Bush wasn't the only one who skipped the pomp and circumstance of his daughter's graduation from the University of Texas -- Jenna Bush did not participate either.

Despite her name being listed on the commencement program, Bush was not among the more than 150 English majors receiving degrees Saturday afternoon at the Austin campus. Attendance at the event is not required to graduate from the university.

Aides have said Bush and first lady Laura Bush decided to skip their 22-year-old twin daughters' graduations because their presence and that of White House security would be disruptive.

Jenna's sister, Barbara, will pick up a degree in humanities Monday from Yale, her father's alma mater. The family will celebrate with private dinners.

A White House spokeswoman said she did not know why Jenna Bush did not attend the commencement but added that the administation declines to comment on matters related to the president's daughters.

"I guess it's understandable, though," graduate Jaclyn Trantham said at Saturday's convocation. "She probably didn't want the attention and the Secret Service and everything."

There is some family precedent. The first lady skipped the ceremonies when she earned her master's degree in library science at the University of Texas in 1973.

The university is the largest campus in the country and several thousand students were scheduled to graduate this weekend. English majors graduated in one of several smaller ceremonies on campus.

It was unclear if Jenna Bush would attend Saturday night's university-wide ceremony, which includes general recognition of the school's entire graduating class.

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