Senior Statesman


Medal of Freedom

The Presidential Medal of Freedom Award is the highest civilian award presented in the United States. Recipients of the award are chosen by the President of the United States once a year for their contributions to world peace, security or national interests and other significant endeavors. In 1997, President Clinton awarded Senator Dole the Medal of Freedom for his distinguished political career and military service.

American Legion’s Distinguished Service Medal

In March 1997, Senator Dole was awarded The American Legion’s Distinguished Service Medal, with National Commander Joseph J. Frank calling him “an avid and ardent supporter of America’s veterans.”

Chairperson for the International Commission on Missing Persons (ICMP)

Senator Dole served as chairperson of the ICMP from 1997-2001. The ICMP is an international commission based in Sarajevo, Bosnia-Herzegovina. It was founded in 1996 to assist governments, families and institutions in searching for persons missing as a result of armed conflicts and natural disasters.

Defense Department’s Distinguished Public Service Award

In April 1998, Senator Dole was awarded the Defense Department’s Distinguished Public Service Award in appreciation of his military service and his public service, particularly his work on behalf of disabled veterans and missing persons.

National Collegiate Athletic Association Theodore Roosevelt Award

In 1998, Senator Dole received the Theodore Roosevelt Award from the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) for becoming “a distinguished citizen of national reputation based on outstanding life accomplishment.”

Families of Freedom Scholarship Fund

In the week following the attacks of September 11, 2001, Senator Dole teamed with President Bill Clinton as campaign co-chairs for the Families of Freedom Scholarship Fund. Together they were able to raise more than $108 million dollars to support post-secondary educational assistance to the dependents of those killed or permanently disabled in the 9/11 attacks.

Dole gave a national press conference on September 29, 2001 to discuss why this cause was so important to him: “And I would just say it seems to me this can be a living memorial, and they will understand as they grow older, the young people, the children, that America continues to care. And we care long after the TV is gone, and long after you move on to the next event.”

Thayer Award

Senator Dole was awarded the Thayer Award in 2004 for his outstanding service to
the nation.

The Sylanus Thayer Award is an annual award presented by the United States Military Academy at West Point. Named after the fifth superintendent at the academy, the award was created to honor a non-West Point graduate who embodies the motto: “Duty, Honor, Country.”

Previous recipients have included Dwight D. Eisenhower, Douglas MacArthur, Omar Bradley, Ronald Reagan, Barbara Jordan and Walter Cronkite. Recipients of the Thayer Award receive a medal and an inscription on a memorial plaque in the West Point cadet dining hall.

The Thayer Award is currently on display at the Dole Institute of Politics.

Kansan of the Year

In 2004, Senator Dole was named Kansan of the Year by the Native Sons and Daughters of Kansas. At the ceremony, Kansas Governor Kathleen Sebelius called Dole a “Kansas legend.”

Golden Medal of Freedom

In 2004, Senator Dole received the Golden Medal of Freedom from the President of Kosovo for his support of the protection, freedom, independence and
democracy of Kosovo.

French Legion of Honor Award

Senator Dole was awarded the French Legion of Honor medal on November 17, 2005. This award, which dates back to the time of Napoleon, was given in recognition of Dole’s military service in World War II. During the ceremony, Ambassador Jean-Davis Levitte also praised Dole’s role in the Dayton Accords bringing peace to Bosnia.

Washburn University School of Law Lifetime Achievement Award

In 2007, Senator Dole was awarded the Lifetime Achievement Award from Washburn University School of Law, where he received his law degree in 1952.

65th Anniversary of D-Day Invasion of Normandy

In 2009, Senator Dole attended the 65th Anniversary of the D-Day Invasion of Normandy as a guest of President Obama. More than 100 World War II veterans from Great Britain, Canada and the U.S. attended the ceremony.

Health Care Reform

Senator Dole played an active role in the ongoing health care debates. As part of the Leaders’ Project on the State of American Health Care, he worked with Senators Howard Baker and Tom Daschle to study health care in America. The Leaders’ Project included strategic outreach to key health care stakeholders, a series of state-based public policy forums, and months of personal deliberation. The culmination of their work is a bipartisan agreement for comprehensive health care reform entitled “Crossing Our Lines: Working Together to Reform the U.S. Health System.”

Honored for Contributions to the National WWII Memorial

In 2011, Senator Dole was honored for his lifelong support of veterans and his instrumental role in establishing the World War II Memorial. The plaque dedication ceremony was emceed by Tom Brokaw.

Rosalie Wynn Hearst Distinguished Public Service Award

In March 2011, Senator Dole was awarded the Rosalie Wynn Hearst Distinguished Public Service Award by the United States Senate Youth Program (USSYP). The award is in honor of his many years of public service and his support of the USSYP, a program that offers education and experience to high school students interested in public service.

Awarded plaque on the Kansas Walk of Honor

On September 20, 2011, Senator Dole was honored with the first plaque on the Kansas Walk of Honor at the Topeka Statehouse.

KU Honorary Degree

Senator Dole received one of the University of Kansas’ first honorary degrees in May 2012. He received the degree of Doctor of Laws for “notable contributions as a statesman and advocate for the rights of all.” KU awards its degrees based on nominees’ outstanding scholarship, research, creative activity, service to humanity or other achievements consistent with the academic endeavors of the university.


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