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Ithaca College professor named to lead George W. Bush Presidential Library

By Journal Staff (


Pearl Ponce

ITHACA — Ithaca College Professor of History Pearl Ponce has been named director of the George W. Bush Presidential Library in Dallas, Texas. 

In that role, she will lead the planning, directing, and administration of all library programming and activities. Archivist of the United States Colleen Shogan announced Ponce’s appointment, which is effective on June 2.

“The presidential libraries provide an important framework to better understand the complexities of our democracy and the decisions that shape our nation,” Shogan said in an April 15 news release. “With her deep knowledge of the presidency and foreign relations, and her passion for American democracy, [Ponce] will be an excellent steward for the George W. Bush Library and a strong voice for archival research and public engagement.”

At Ithaca College, Ponce has served as chair of the Department of History, helping to lead it through the disruption created by the COVID-19 pandemic. She has taught a wide range of courses in U.S. history and has conducted research and published on the presidency, governance and democracy, the exercise of federal power, and the territorial system, Ithaca College said in a separate release.

Ponce said that while she will miss her students and colleagues at Ithaca College, this new role will give her the unique opportunity she was seeking to engage with the public while merging with her intellectual interests.

“My work has centered on the presidency and federal power in the territories, and I am thrilled to have the opportunity to share it in a new way,” said Ponce. “The presidential library system is devoted to ensuring the American people have access to their own history. Preservation of and access to a presidential administration’s archival materials is foundational to understanding and preserving our democratic institutions, and I am honored to have been selected to contribute to this critical mission.”

The library serves as a resource for the study of the life and career of George W. Bush, while also promoting a better understanding of the presidency, American history, and important issues of public policy. It is part of the Presidential Libraries system, administered by the National Archives and Records Administration, a U.S. federal agency.

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