About the Dole Institute of Politics

“In America we take pride in the past, but we live for the future. To the young people who will come here for inspiration as well as information, may you never stop reaching for the stars – whatever the difficulties.”

Senator Bob Dole, July 22, 2003, Dole Institute dedication

Our Mission

The mission of the Dole Institute of Politics is to promote political and civic participation as well as civil discourse in a bi-partisan, balanced manner.

By providing a forum for discussion of political and economic issues, fostering public service leadership and encouraging participation in the political process, we emphasize that politics is an honorable profession and that only through political and civic participation can citizens redirect the course of our nation. While the objective is to accomplish this mission on a broad scale, our location at the University of Kansas provides a unique opportunity for outreach to young people and students.

We utilize the three distinct components of the Dole Institute to accomplish this mission: unique displays that tell the compelling story of Bob Dole’s life in the context of Kansas and The Greatest Generation; one of the largest congressional archives in existence which houses all of the Senator’s congressional papers; and finally, the vigorous public programming conducted by the Dole Institute.

From the Director

For nearly a decade, it has been my honor to serve the Dole Institute and advance its mission – the culmination of a 20-year career devoted to building civic engagement with cultural heritage resources.

I undoubtedly believe in the power of institutions like the Dole Institute in our society: they are an essential bridge between people and our systems of government, they bind our communities together, and they inspire investment in the future built on shared vision and common purpose.

In his final message to the nation, published just after his death in December 2021, Senator Bob Dole wrote, “When we prioritize principles over party and humanity over personal legacy, we accomplish far more as a nation. By leading with a shared faith in each other, we become America at its best: a beacon of hope, a source of comfort in crisis, a shield against those who threaten freedom.”

Inspired first by the storied leadership of Senator Bob Dole, the Dole Institute – in promoting bipartisanship, civil discourse, and public service – is a bulwark against currents that are detrimental to our free society and our constitutional democratic republic.

We have a lot of work to do, and we must be successful.

Follow us, join us, support us as we work with KU students and people of all ages to reinvent “politics as usual” for the brightest possible 21st century.

Audrey Coleman
January 2022