Return Engagement

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Eight months after campaigning for re-election here, President Bush is due back in Parkersburg Tuesday morning.

His eventual destination is West Virginia University at Parkersburg, where he will discuss a major second-term issue: reforming Social Security.

Thanks to a previous commitment, the multi-purpose room wasn't available for site work until about the middle of the weekend.

"The advance team from the White House knew we had an inauguration (of new WVU-P president Marie Foster Gnage) to do," says college spokeswoman Connie Dziagwa, "and they were very patient with us and very understanding that we needed to get out event out of the way. In fact, we joked with them that once the inauguration was over we'd just turn the place over to them, and they could take over from there."

WVU-Parkersburg is getting used to this, having hosted two other national figures in the past year, but that doesn't make things any less hectic or exciting.

"It's a wonderful day for the college and we're excited," Dziagwa says. "Classes will be in session, all of our offices will be open. We're trying to make it an ordinary day, when in fact, it's an extraordinary day."

Add to the situation the fact that the college's multi-purpose room, the site of the president's address, had another presidential event that was held there over the weekend, the inauguration of the college's new president.

"It's been a nice ride," Dziagwa notes, "and we appreciate the notoriety and having the opportunity for millions of people around the world, for that matter, to hear our name and have this kind of focus on the college."

By the way, an event planned at the same time as the president's address is billed as a public forum on Social Security with speakers from the West Virginia AARP and the state AFL-CIO.

That forum will be held at the Cedar Grove community building, just up the road from the university campus.