Audrey Coleman is the Director of the Robert J. Dole Institute of Politics, where she has held leadership roles since 2012. Formerly the Archivist to Senator Bob Dole, in Summer 2023 Audrey lead months-long commemorative efforts in honor of Senator Bob Dole’s 100th birthday and the 20th anniversary of the Dole Institute, including a celebratory slate of guests including Senators Trent Lott and Tom Daschle, and Wall Street Journal Executive Washington Editor Jerry Seib.
Audrey cultivates transformative program partnerships that impact audiences and engage institutions across the region and the nation. Her experience with public engagement crosses disciplines, generations, and political philosophies. Audrey’s resourceful leadership strategy centers on attributes exclusive to the Dole Institute including the leadership legacies of Senators Bob and Elizabeth Dole, their papers, and the vast network associated with the Senators, the Dole Institute, and the University of Kansas.
Audrey holds graduate and undergraduate degrees from the University of Kansas, where she was a member of the Phi Beta Kappa Honors Society.
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
As the public education manager at the Dole Institute, Julie leads K-12, scout, and family education programs through in-person tours and workshops, virtual classes, and outreach in schools and the community. She is excited to share her passion for effective and innovative education connecting primary sources from the Dole Archives and Special Collections to a wide range of class topics and workshops. Julie also engages KU classes with in-depth discussions in the museum or in individual campus classrooms.
Julie was proud to join the Dole Institute in 2015. She received her undergraduate and graduate degrees from the University of Kansas and has over ten years of statewide museum education outreach in Utah and Kansas. Julie is active in multiple professional development organizations, such as the Kansas City area Museum Educators Roundtable group, and is a member of the American Alliance for Museums and Kansas & National Council for the Social Studies.
Administrative Associate for Institutional Initiatives
Jackson first joined the Dole Institute in the spring of 2020 as a student assistant in the Robert and Elizabeth Dole Archives and Special Collections. There, he worked with the institute’s archivists to maintain and add to both Senators Bob and Elizabeth Dole’s archival collections, assist researchers, and maintain the institute’s museum dedicated to the life and legacy of Senator Dole. Additionally, he worked with the institute’s public education staff to develop and teach educational programming, and design materials used in the institute’s marketing. After graduating from the University of Kansas in 2023, Jackson entered a new role at the Dole Institute as an administrative associate supporting the Dole Institute’s daily operations and programs.
Jackson was born and raised in Southern California. In 2019, he moved to Kansas to study at KU, where he earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in History with a minor in Political Science. While at KU, Jackson was a member of the Dole Institute’s Student Advisory Board.
In his free time, Jackson enjoys photography, hiking, traveling, watching baseball, and spending time with family and friends.
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.
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.
Assistant Archivist for Digital Initiatives
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.
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.
Braiden Bangalan, Discussion Groups and Outreach Student Coordinator
Anna Cashatt, Student Visitor Services Assistant
Cas Casmus, Pizza and Politics Student Coordinator
Abbie Clements, Student Events Assistant
Rachel Creighton, Discussion Groups and Outreach Student Coordinator
Matthew Cunningham, Student Visitor Services Assistant
Madi Dunn, Student Visitor Services Assistant
Elizabeth (Libby) Elliott, AV Student Assistant
Alexandra (Allie) Haggar, Student Advisory Board Student Coordinator
Greta Hayden, Student Archives Assistant
Kenna McNally, Marketing and Communications Intern
Grace Mechler, Development and Fundraising Intern
Madison Needham, Student Archives Assistant
Riley Osterberg, Student Archives Assistant
Alexis Grace Perry, Student Visitor Services Assistant
Raina Peter, Student Outreach Coordinator
Aislinn Reekie, Student Archives Assistant
Dylan Shemitz, Student Visitor Services Assistant
Raksha Shrestha, Collections Student Assistant
Natalie Terranova, Marketing and Communications Intern
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