In the Spring of 2024, the Dole Institute continued bringing local and national leaders and mentors to Lawrence for engaging conversations, while advancing discourse in a variety of new subjects with new programming and educational opportunities.


Dole Institute Director Audrey Coleman delivered the 2024 KU Political Science Department Undergraduate Commencement Address. Photo courtesy of the KU Department of Political Science.

A Message from the Director

About this time last year, we at the Dole Institute were preparing to celebrate our 20th anniversary and Bob Dole’s 100th birthday. Internationally known Kansas artist Stan Herd had just broken ground on a tribute earthwork, a portrait in the ground of Senator Dole, with the help of former Senators Trent Lott and Tom Daschle—a Republican and Democrat, respectively—who extolled the bipartisan leadership of the late Senator.

Events like these, of which there are many, are exciting, but it’s connecting KU students to this caliber of leaders via programming, mentoring, and experiential opportunities that are truly the most exhilarating and are the Dole Institute’s reason for being.

Our institutional values—bipartisanship, civil discourse and civic engagement, public service, and politics as an honorable profession—are tested these days, for a variety of political, cultural, and economic reasons.

However, keeping them relevant to today’s young people and restoring these values back into our political culture is essential if we are to keep our democracy—our governance of, by, and for the people—and these non-partisan qualities must be the purview of folks across the political spectrum and generations.

Engaging Discussions Across All Disciplines

The Dole Institute welcomed notable national leaders and mentors for engaging discussions on a variety of issues, including the state of electoral administration and processes, the state of fiscal policy in the U.S., sustainability in Kansas, and ongoing conflicts around the world. Additionally, the Institute honored Bill Kurtis at the 2024 Dole Lecture, which commemorates the date on which Senator Bob Dole was injured during WWII, his perseverance through recovery, and his commitment to public service.



Acclaimed journalist, producer, network news anchor, and rancher Bill Kurtis was honored at the 2024 Dole Lecture. The annual program commemorates the date on which Senator Bob Dole was critically wounded while serving in Italy during World War II. To honor his courageous recovery and commitment to serve the nation, Kurtis was welcomed to the Dole Institute for embodying the same commitments Senator Dole held throughout his career in public service.


The Dole Institute and the Edward M. Kennedy Institute for the United States Senate kicked off the Bolstering Elections Initiative in the spring with a fireside chat between Douglas County Clerk Jamie Shew and Kansas Secretary of State Scott Schwab. The collaborative initiative promotes investment in American electoral administration and processes.


In honor of Black History Month, Senior Associate Director Barbara Ballard hosted the 8th installment of A Conversation on Race, which featured Professor Shawn Leigh Alexander, Chair of the KU Department of African and African American Studies, and Deborah Dandridge, Associate Librarian, Field Archivist and Curator of the African American Experience Collections at the Spencer Research Library.


Dole Institute Visiting Fellow Rachel Snyderman discusses the state of fiscal policy in the United States, and the steps ahead in the months and years to come. Emily Wielk joined Snyderman for a two-day visit to the Institute through our ongoing partnership with the Bipartisan Policy Center.


Dole Fellow Karen Willey developed the Spring 2024 Discussion Groups series, Obstacles and Opportunities: Tackling Sustainability in Kansas, in collaboration with Discussion Groups Coordinators Braiden Bangalan and Rachel Creighton. Throughout the prior semester, the group sought input from members of the Dole Institute Student Advisory Board to determine specific topics in sustainability that students wanted to learn more about.


Former NATO Supreme Allied Commander Gen. Phillip Breedlove (U.S. Airforce, ret.) delivered the Keynote Address for the 2024 KU Security Conference at the Dole Institute. Following his remarks, he joined Mike Denning, Director of Graduate Military Programs, for a discussion on his tenure at NATO and ongoing conflicts around the world.

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Expanding Student Involvement & Outreach

The Dole Institute Student Advisory Board was active throughout the spring semester. Through cross-campus partnerships, the SAB continued to grow its base with engaging programming designed for students at KU, including the 2024 SAB Program on the Kansas Speaks Public Opinion Survey and career insight from White House Correspondents Eugene Daniels and Francesca Chambers. SAB members also had an expanded role in The Counselors program, which featured attorneys Ed Duckers and Pedro Irigonegaray, and students from the Washburn University School of Law.



Politico White House Correspondent Eugene Daniels and USA Today White House Correspondent Francesca Chambers visited the Dole Institute for a discussion with Student Advisory Board Coordinator Allie Haggar at Brinner, an annual program kicking-off the SAB's spring programming.


Pizza and Politics Coordinator Cas Casmus led another successful semester of Pizza and Politics programs, which featured discussions on the Kansas State Legislature, the Supreme Court, gun control, homelessness, and more.


Dole Institute Visiting Fellows Rachel Snyderman and Emily Wielk, along with the Bipartisan Policy Center's John Richter, held a workshop with members of the Student Advisory Board to discuss the current state of fiscal policy in the United States and showcase tools from the BPC and other organizations that allow people to simulate changes to the federal budget and see what your tax dollars are spent on.


Student Advisory Board Coordinator Allie Haggar moderated the 2024 Student Advisory Board Program, which focused on the results of the 2023 Kansas Speaks Public Opinion Survey and featured insight and analysis from Kansas Speaks Contributor Dr. Alexandra Middlewood, State Representative Christina Haswood, and State Representative Nick Hoheisel.


Student Advisory Board members and students from the Washburn University School of Law had the opportunity to join attorneys Ed Duckers and Pedro Irigonegaray in the 2024 iteration of The Counselors. This year's program featured debate over whether or not there should be term limits for Supreme Court justices.

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A New Avenue for Experiential Learning

Working with students, faculty, and staff here at KU, the Dole Archives was hard at work creating its newest special exhibit, ERA in the Heartland, and finalizing the accession of Senator Elizbeth Dole’s papers from her tenure at the Department of Labor. Additionally, our Public Education team has been hard at work reaching students and youth throughout Kansas. This spring, the Dole Institute held the 8th Annual Easter Egg Roll with Dole, which featured new, exciting opportunities for guests thanks to our sponsor, Walmart, and our partners at the Lied Center of Kansas and the Lawrence Public Library.



In partnership with the KU Department of History, the Dole Archives opened its new special exhibit, ERA in the Heartland: Ratification and Reconsideration in Kansas, 1973-1980. This student-driven exhibit is based on KU History and Journalism student Allie Haggar's honors thesis, which examines the efforts to ratify and rescind the Equal Rights Amendment in Kansas and its legacy today.


The Dole Institute held the 8th Annual Easter Egg Roll with Dole - an annual event that invites families to the Institute to celebrate the Easter holiday and learn how to be civically engaged. This year, thanks to our sponsor, Walmart, and our partners at the Lied Center of Kansas and the Lawrence Public Library, Grammy Award-winning artist Tim Kubart performed on the Dole Institute's East Lawn and children's author Jo Renfro visited the Institute to read and sign her new book, Peg Gets Crackin'.


Michael Fortner, a professor at Claremont McKenna College, was awarded the 2023 Dole Archive Research Fellowship Award to support his research at the Dole Archives. His research focused on the crack epidemic and the congressional response to it.


The Robert and Elizabeth Dole Archives and Special Collections officially opened the Elizabeth Dole Secretary of Labor Papers for research. The opening of the collection marks a major milestone in the process of accessioning Senator Dole's papers from her time in public service.

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Plus Much More

This is only a glimpse into the work conducted at the Dole Institute. Stay up to date with news from the Dole Institute, upcoming events, features, and more by following us on social media and subscribing to our newsletter, The Digital Dole Institute.

Explore more highlights from previous semesters and seasons on our website by clicking the link below.

The Dole Institute is committed to universal accessibility in all programs and resources. We are in the process of making all of our web projects fully accessible. An accessible version of the material represented on this site will be made available upon request. Please contact us at doleinstitute@ku.edu to request the material be made available in an accessible format, or for general assistance.