Published: Apr 07, 2011 5:53 AM EDT
Updated: Apr 07, 2011 1:18 AM EDT

ESTERO, Fla. - Former First Lady Laura Bush spent Wednesday meeting fans and spreading her message throughout Southwest Florida. Her day began in Naples, with a book-signing of her best-selling memoir, "Spoken from the Heart."
Hundreds lined up outside Books-A-Million at Mercato, getting the chance to share a few words with the former first lady.

"It was lovely," Roselyn Stillwagon said. "She's a lovely lady. She was really speaking to everyone. We told her we thought she was a great first lady."

Later in the afternoon, she took the stage at Alico Arena, reviving Florida Gulf Coast University's President's Lecture Series after a 3-year hiatus. While her topic was "Unleashing the Human Potential through Education," she also opened up about her experiences in the White House, life after 9/11, and finding her identity as the First Lady.

"She kept it just light enough where she let the audience in on her life, personal and professional," Greg Pultro said.

At the core of her lecture, Bush addressed the need for literacy, the power books have to shape our journey as a nation, and the importance of women's education and healthcare.  Cameras were not permitted to record audio of the lecture, but her message was heard loud and clear by those who aspire to follow in her footsteps.

"She taught me that it's important to read, to learn how to read and write," young Sofia Pultro said.

"She is seeking to empower women everywhere because she knows that behind every great man is a great woman," FGCU Education major Tamara Edwards said.

Bush has been a familiar face around Southwest Florida this year. She was part of the January Get Motivated! seminars at Germain Arena, and spoke at February's Celebration of Reading in Bonita Springs.