Dole Institute celebrates distinguished Kansan’s legacy of finding common ground

May 1, 2023 - News

July 22 marks the centennial of Senator Bob Dole’s birth and the 20th anniversary of the Dole Institute

LAWRENCE — Twenty years ago this July 22, thousands gathered on the University of Kansas’ West Campus to honor the public service and bipartisan legacy of Russell, Kansas native Bob Dole at the dedication of the Robert J. Dole Institute of Politics. That same day marked Senator Dole’s 80th birthday.

This year, the Dole Institute marks its 20th anniversary and Senator Bob Dole’s centenary with a Landmark Celebration. On April 25, in a groundbreaking ceremony attended by Senators Trent Lott and Tom Daschle, Dole’s former colleagues and Majority Leaders from each party, world-renowned Kansas artist Stan Herd broke ground for a tribute earthwork to be dedicated at a public celebration on July 22 at the Institute. A series of special programming and events will follow over the next three months.

“I am honored to have the opportunity to create a work that signifies reengaging people with the legacy of this distinguished Kansan, and his leadership that prioritized finding common ground,” said Herd. “That is a concept that could use some attention these days.”

Over the coming weeks, the public is invited to observe Herd at work on-site at the Institute and watch the earthwork take shape. The next scheduled work visit coincides with Memorial Day weekend, Friday, May 26.

Students across Kansas are encouraged to contribute their own artwork, which will be incorporated into the completed earthwork in July. Participation is free, details are available at

“Americans are looking for a way to engage in politics different from what we see today. The Dole Institute’s mission to cultivate common ground and bipartisan compromise in tomorrow’s leaders has never been more important,” said Audrey Coleman, the Institute’s director. “We’re excited to engage the public very broadly as we commemorate these historic anniversaries. It’s an ideal and once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to celebrate the bipartisan leadership of Senator Dole as an inspiration for the next generation of Kansans and beyond.”

Senator Elizabeth Dole expressed support for the Dole Institute’s plans to honor her late husband.

“My husband Bob’s legacy of strong leadership should never be forgotten,” said his wife, former Senator Elizabeth Dole. “I am delighted that, two decades later, the Institute is vibrant and thriving.”

Details about upcoming events, including Herd’s work days, a special exhibit opening June 14, and July 22 events will be announced in the coming weeks. The earthwork will be maintained on the Dole Institute grounds through October. The public is invited to come view this unique art installation in development and explore the Dole Institute’s museum exhibits. Visit for updated information.

From his humble beginnings in rural Kansas, to the battlefields of Italy in World War II to 35 years of legislative service to our country, Senator Bob Dole dedicated his life to serving the American people. Dole was the driving force behind countless legislative initiatives benefiting Americans on both sides of the aisle including the bipartisan passing of the Social Security Reform Act of 1983, the Americans with Disabilities Act, and several initiatives providing nutrition assistance to those in need worldwide.

He was respected for his ability to foster bipartisan support on significant issues as well as his support for military veterans. In 2017, Senator Bob Dole received the Congressional Gold Medal, the nation’s highest civilian award, for his contributions as a soldier, legislator, and statesman. In 2019, he was only the third person in history, after General George Washington and the explorer William Clark, to receive an honorary promotion by the U.S. Army.

Sponsors of the Landmark Celebration include AARP Kansas, University of Kansas, C.J. and Becca Mahoney, Jeff and Mary Weinberg, Mark and Bette Morris Family Foundation, Capitol Federal, Carol and Fred Logan, H. Neil Mecaskey, Jr. Foundation, Inc., KU Alumni Association, and Crickett and Scott Reed.

The Dole Institute, a landmark facility on par with the U.S. Presidential libraries and the first of its kind in the world for a legislative leader, has become a vibrant forum for civil discourse, civic engagement, and idea exchange across the political spectrum, not only for University of Kansas students, but audiences of all ages. It is home to the historical collections of both Senators Bob and Elizabeth Dole. All resources of the Dole Institute are free and open to the public.



For More Information:

Maria Fisher
(785) 864-4900

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