Audrey Coleman became Director of the Dole Institute in November 2021.
With nearly a decade of prior leadership at the Institute, Audrey created transformative programs that have reached audiences and institutions across the region and the nation.
Audrey’s long history with Senator Bob Dole and Senator Elizabeth Dole positioned her to effectively lead the institute and continue its mission to promote civic participation and civil discourse in a bipartisan manner.
Upon her appointment, both Senators Dole expressed their support for Audrey’s leadership:
“Elizabeth and I are very pleased that Audrey Coleman has been selected as the new director of the Dole Institute of Politics,” Senator Bob Dole said. “We have known and worked with Audrey for many years, and she personifies everything the institute stands for. She is a proven leader, a gifted and strategic thinker, and a wonderful person. We remain optimistic about the future of the institute with Audrey at the helm. She is a tremendous asset.”
Senior Associate Director
Barbara Ballard joined the Dole Institute in 2004. As senior associate director, she coordinates the Youth Civic Leadership Institute (YCLI) for nominated Kansas high school seniors, Civic Engagement and KU Leadership, Get Out the Vote and voter registration, Constitution Day, Civic Engagement and Leadership Conference for Kansas Government, History and Social Studies Teachers, Veterans Day Gala, and A Conversation on Race series. Barbara has been with the University of Kansas since August 1980, where she has served as an associate vice provost for student success, associate dean for student life and the director of the Emily Taylor Women’s Resource Center. Barbara, has a Ph.D. in Counseling and Student Personnel services and an M.S. in Guidance and Counseling. She also teaches for the School of Education and Department of Women’s Gender and Sexuality Studies.
Barbara is a member of the Kansas Legislature. She was elected to the Kansas House of Representatives in 1992. She currently serves on the following Kansas House Committees: Appropriations, Social Services Budget (ranking member), Transportation, and Joint Committee on Home and Community Based Services and KanCare Oversight. She serves on the House Leadership Team as the Democratic Caucus Chair and is the first African American on Leadership, serving over fifteen years. She is a past President of the National Black Caucus of State Legislators (NBCSL), past President of the NBCSL Foundation and served as a Regional Coordinator of the National Organization of Black Elected Legislative Women (NOBEL Women).
Alex joined the Dole Institute of Politics in 2022 and serves as the Assistant Archivist, processing collections and aiding researchers. After graduating from Southeast Missouri State University with a B.A. in History and B.S. in Historic Preservation in 2018, Alex continued his education in the Humanities with a M.A. in Museum Studies at the University of Kansas. Alex engaged with students through his time as a Graduate Teaching Assistant for the Film and Media Studies Department and carries over his strong sense to help others expand their understanding of the world around them after returning to KU in his current position.
Public Education Manager
A native Kansan, Julie was proud to join the Dole Institute in 2015. As the public education manager, she leads K-12 and family education programs, including on-site, outreach, and online initiatives. Julie graduated from the University of Kansas with her bachelor’s and master’s degrees in biological research. Most recently, she was an education specialist at the Natural History Museum of Utah and traveled all over the state teaching outreach education programs to thousands of students every year. She is excited to share her passion for effective and innovative education utilizing primary sources from the Dole Archives and Special Collections.
Development and Outreach Coordinator
Maria is pleased to return to the Dole Institute as development specialist. She served in the role in 2018 until her family moved to São Paulo, Brazil, due to her husband’s work. The family moved back to Lawrence in July 2021 for her husband’s job with Hill’s Pet Nutrition in Topeka. Maria is looking forward to managing the Friends of the Dole Institute program. She has more than 20 years of experience in non-profit fundraising, special event management, marketing and communications. Prior to living in Brazil and Kansas, the family has lived in Indiana, Tennessee, and Kentucky. Maria is originally from Louisville, Kentucky, and her background includes working for a variety of non-profits including an arts organization, Chambers of Commerce, a leadership development center, and youth services providers. She graduated from Xavier University in Cincinnati, Ohio, with a B.A. in English. Before re-joining the workforce, Maria was an active volunteer at her daughters’ school and with the American Society of São Paulo’s charity outreach and fundraising events. She and her husband and two daughters are very happy to be living “in the country” just south of Lawrence. When she’s not working or volunteering, Maria enjoys doing home improvement projects, gardening, cooking, cycling, swimming and choral singing.
Senior Archivist and Head of Collections
Sarah D’Antonio Gard, C.A., joined the Dole Institute as the archivist in January 2012. She preserves and provides access to the Dole Archives collections, including working with researchers of all ages and creating unique learning experiences for KU classes. She holds a B.A. in art history from the University of Mary Washington in Fredericksburg, Virginia, and an M.S.I.S. with a specialization in archives and records enterprise from the University of Texas at Austin. Sarah is active in the Association of Centers for the Study of Congress and the Congressional Papers Section of the Society of American Archivists.
Lynate Pettengill has over 25 years of nonprofit fundraising and development experience, including: major donor relations, grant writing, special events, direct mail, fundraising appeals, foundations, and corporate donors. Lynate previously served as the Senior Development Director for Citizens’ Climate Lobby (CCL), an organization working to pass bipartisan climate legislation at the state and federal level. During her time with CCL Lynate had the privilege of meeting personally with members of Congress, and she is thrilled to now raise funds in support of civic participation and civil discourse.
During the nine years Lynate oversaw CCL’s fundraising programs, annual revenue increased over 2,000%. She is a Truman State University alum, and a member of the Association of Fundraising Professionals (AFP). A sixth-generation Kansan, Lynate enjoys spending her free time hiking, biking, reading, gardening, playing ukulele, dancing, and getting together with friends and family.
Events and Outreach Assistant
Nate is the Events and Outreach Assistant at the Dole Institute of Politics. Nate’s career began at Southern Utah University, where he was the Events Assistant for the SUU Alumni and Community Relations for three years. He assisted in the planning, production, and execution of high-quality internal and external events in collaboration with donors, board members, partners, students, faculty, and staff. He helped run events including: the 2021 Utah Governor Inauguration, SUU Graduation Ceremonies, and the Larry H. Miller Utah Summer Games Opening Ceremonies.
Nate graduated from Southern Utah University in Cedar City, Utah, with a B.A. in Strategic Communications in May 2019 and then earned his M.A. in Professional Communications and Media Studies in April 2021. He is also a member of the Sigma Chi Fraternity.
Nate is excited to welcome all the opportunities presented to him, and use his skills, experience, and passion for events at the Dole Institute of Politics.
In his free time, Nate enjoys DJing, finding and listening to new music, spending time outdoors, telling jokes, watching and playing basketball, and spending time with his family and friends.
Director of Programs and Student Affairs
Sarah has long-standing ties to the Dole Institute. From 2005-2007, she was a student worker and Student Advisory Board member during her undergraduate studies. She returned to the Institute as the development specialist in June 2019 and served as interim communications coordinator in the summer of 2021. She was promoted to director of events and student affairs in September 2021 and director of programs and student affairs in July 2022.
Before returning to the Institute, she worked as a political researcher, served as a consular associate at the U.S. Embassy Angola, and taught English in Saudi Arabia and Germany.
She graduated from the University of Kansas with bachelor’s degrees in political science, Spanish, and international studies, as well as a minor in history. She earned her master’s degree in counter terrorism from IDC Herzilya, Israel.
In her free time, Sarah enjoys traveling, trying foods from around the world, yoga, tennis, listening to podcasts, and being active outdoors.
Digital Initiatives Coordinator
Marla Weaver, M. Arch., M.S.L.I.S., joined the Dole Institute in 2019 as the digital initiatives coordinator after working for KU Libraries as a library associate in technical services. A Kansan, born and raised, her interest in library and archival services began in 2003, when she attended the opening ceremonies of the Dole Institute of Politics and served as an archival volunteer while still in high school. She holds a Master of Architecture from the University of Kansas. In 2017, she completed a Master of Science in Library and Information Science with a Certificate of advanced study in Data Science, both from Syracuse University.
Visitor Services Assistant
Mari was hired in December 2022 as the Visitor Services Assistant, where she welcomes guests to the museum.
Mari obtained her Bachelor’s degrees from KU in Psychology and Nursing, and a Master’s in Health Care Leadership from Friends University. She worked for over 25 years as a Registered Nurse. Mari was commissioned as 2nd Lt. in the Kansas Army Nurse Reserves. She served from 1987-1995. She is also on the State Family Advisory Council through KDHE where she is Co-Chair of the Children with Special Health Care Needs Committee. She also taught for several years as an adjunct faculty at Bryan University in Topeka and Neodesha University for nursing students.
Mari is involved in large numbers of community volunteer activities and is the State Ambassador for the National Spastic Paraplegia Foundation. She lives in Lawrence with her husband, 2 sons, and 4 dogs. In her spare time, Mari loves to read, bake, and ushers at the Lied Center and Theatre Lawrence.
Director of Operations
Amber is the director of finance and administration at the Dole Institute of Politics. Prior to her time here, Amber’s career began at two weeks old when she started at the family’s printing company in midtown Kansas City, Missouri. She continued to work there while attending UMKC until she opened her own retail store, Retroactive in Kansas City’s Union Station. After working at a catalog company in Lenexa as a key accounts purchasing agent, Amber became the director of marketing, events and special Projects for the Franklin County Convention and Visitors Bureau for six years and published a weekly column in the paper for five years. In 2013, she accepted an opportunity at the University of Kansas in Facilities Services before joining the Dole Institute of Politics staff in 2018. Amber lives in Lawrence with her husband and two sons and enjoys a number of hobbies including sewing, woodworking, house restoration, antiquing, music, creative writing, photography, cooking and entertaining.
Bill Lacy was appointed Director of the Dole Institute in 2004 and established a highly-respected venue for bipartisan, philosophically-balanced political programming. His network of political contacts resulting from his twenty-year career in Washington D.C., as a campaign strategist has served the Dole Institute well. Under Bill’s leadership, the Dole Institute has hosted an extensive cadre of national and international political leaders, practitioners and journalists. Students and community members benefit from the Dole Institute’s ongoing lecture series and nationally-recognized post-election conferences. The student-oriented culture provides many opportunities for the Dole Student Advisory Board that students at other universities don’t receive.
Bill developed an acclaimed, non-adversarial way of interviewing guests that allows them to tell their story. He has had the honor of interviewing a multitude of leaders including 2016 Nobel Peace Prize winner President Juan Manuel Santos of Colombia, President George H.W. Bush, Vice President Walter Mondale, former Senate Majority Leaders Bob Dole, George Mitchell and Howard Baker, Sen. Elizabeth Dole, U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services Donna Shalala, legendary journalists Bob Woodward and David Broder, and many others.
Bill also led the effort to obtain Sen. Elizabeth Dole’s career papers and create a women’s leadership lecture in her honor. He also helmed the creation of the Dole Institute Board of Advisers, which features a group of national political figures, strategists and Dole Institute supporters.
Bill served as President Ronald Reagan’s political director and had major roles in seven presidential campaign, including Dole’s 1988 and 1996 efforts. In August 2007, Bill took a leave of absence from the Dole Institute to manage the presidential campaign of Sen. Fred Thompson (R-Tenn.).
Under Bill’s watch, the Dole Institute fundraising team has added millions to the Dole Institute’s endowment. In addition, Dole archivists have completed the processing of the Sen. Bob Dole collection, created research fellowships and run an impressive program schedule based on the collection.
Bill is an avid sports fan and cyclist and spends much of July following the Tour de France. His wife Susie is a loyal Dole Institute supporter and attends many of the institute’s events.
Alexandra (Allie) Haggar, Events Student Assistant
Usman (Alvi) Alvi, Student Archives Assistant
Anna Cashatt, Student Archives Assistant
Angela Davis, Pizza and Politics Student Coordinator
Anna Wiksten, Student Outreach
Austin Klinock, Student Archives Assistant
Catherine Magaña, Student Advisory Board Student Coordinator
Claudia Garcia, Marketing and Communication Intern
Conner McClelland, Student Archives Assistant
Emily Depew, Graduate Student Outreach Coordinator
Grace Mechler, Development and Fundraising Intern
Greta Hayden, Student Archives Assistant
Hannah Smuckler, AV Student Assistant
Heidi Mattson, Discussion Groups Student Coordinator
Jackson DeAndrea, Student Archives Assistant
Elizabeth (Libby) Elliott, AV Student Assistant
Madison Needham, Student Archives Assistant
Michael Scott, Research Assistant
Mishael (MJ) Jamela, AV Student Assistant
Raina Peter, Discussion Groups Student Coordinator
Raksha Shrestha, Student Archives Assistant
William Mechnig, Discussion Groups Student Coordinator
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