About the Dole Institute
The Robert J. Dole Institute of Politics at the University of Kansas promotes political and civic participation as well as civil discourse in a bipartisan, balanced manner. Shortly after Bob Dole’s unsuccessful presidential bid in 1996, the University of Kansas approached Sen. Dole to create a place to house his personal and public papers. The Dole Institute was established two years later.
The Dole Institute hosts public programs with varied topics of political interest including presidential campaigns, congressional service, the role of the media, and hot button topics like globalization, climate change, genocide and health care.
The current site of the Dole Institute, next to the Lied Center on KU’s West Campus, was dedicated in July 2003. The striking building houses unique displays that tell the compelling story of Bob Dole’s life from boyhood to civil service, contains a congressional archive housing the career papers of Sen. Bob Dole and Sen. Elizabeth Dole, and is an outstanding venue for the public programs conducted by the Dole Institute.
Among those who have spoken at the Dole Institute are: former Presidents George H.W. Bush, Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton; former Polish President Lech Walesa; Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts and Justice Samuel Alito; Vice Presidents Joe Biden and Walter Mondale; former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright; former Senators Bob and Elizabeth Dole, Howard Baker, Tom Daschle and Nancy Kassebaum; General David Petraeus; and many other prominent journalists, authors, historians, public servants and political practitioners. This critical component helps the Dole Institute remain a living tribute to democracy in an ever-changing world.
The director of the Dole Institute is William B. Lacy, who had management and strategic roles on Senator Dole’s 1988 and 1996 presidential campaigns. The staff is augmented by University of Kansas faculty, staff, and student interns, many of whom have gone on to successful careers in government and politics.
The building’s distinct exterior is framed by a sweeping colonnade reflected by Bales Pond. The entry way is paved with commemorative bricks, many donated by friends of Sen. Dole or in memory of World War II veterans. Inside, the Dole Institute features a Memory Wall, which displays 960 images of Kansas World War II veterans.
The Dole Institute houses several other distinguishing features as well, including the world’s largest stained glass American flag. In addition to exhibits highlighting Dole’s public service and unique rotating special exhibits, the Dole Institute is home to two World Trade Center columns, given by New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg to Dole for his work with former President Clinton on the Families of Freedom Scholarship Fund for children of Sept. 11 victims, a large red granite floor map of Kansas, and the stained glass Russell Window donated by Dole in memory of his parents.
For more information on the Dole Institute, visit www.doleinstitute.org or call (785) 864-4900.