A Landmark Celebration at Lawrence’s Dole Institute of Politics, Summer 2023:

Twenty years ago, July 22, the Dole Institute of Politics became the state’s newest landmark.

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.

Bob Dole Earthwork Banner Ad

Landmark Celebration

This summer the Dole Institute is marking its 20th anniversary and Senator Bob Dole’s centenary with a Landmark Celebration. 

“We’re excited to engage the public very broadly as we commemorate these historic anniversaries,” said Dole Institute Director Audrey Coleman. “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.”

Kids: Be a Part of our Landmark Earthwork!

Since that date, the Dole Institute has  collected hundreds of small artworks from K-12 students from across the state that will be incorporated into the finished earthwork. 

It’s not too late for students to contribute their work! Submissions will be accepted until June 26. Details are available here! Visitors to the Dole Institute galleries can complete their work on-site, or in their home community and submit by mail or virtually.

Bob Dole - Kids


Engaging With Kids Across Kansas

Special Exhibit: Landmarks in Leadership: Bob Dole’s Legacy at 100

The Dole Institute is home to the Dole Archives, historical collections documenting the lives and careers of Senators Bob and Elizabeth Dole. The archives tell stories of both historic events and everyday leadership, as well as the development of American policy and politics in the latter half of the 20th century.

The special exhibit showcases never before displayed materials and recent acquisitions highlighting the far-ranging impact of Senator Bob Dole’s long career.

Landmark Work Days at the Dole Institute

On both Monday, June 26 and Sunday, July 2, from 10-3, artist Stan Herd and his team will be at work on the project as it unfolds using grasses, stones, and other organic materials on the grounds outside the Dole Institute. It’s an awesome opportunity to experience how an artwork of this scale, typically viewable only from the air, comes together piece by piece!

“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.”

A Landmark Celebration: July 22

On July 22, the Dole Institute invites the public from across the state and the nation to celebrate Senator Bob Dole’s 100th birthday and the ongoing work of the Dole Institute to inspire people to seek common ground, discuss differences civilly, and pursue public service.

Special appearances include Senator Elizabeth Dole, Robin Dole, and other leaders for tributes and dedication of the completed earthwork, which will feature art from students across Kansas.

Founding Dole Institute director, presidential historian, and author of the acclaimed new book “An Ordinary Man: The Surprising Life and Historic Presidency of Gerald R. Ford”, will appear virtually for a live interview on the Ford and Dole legacies, moderated by Dole Institute Director Emeritus Bill Lacy.

Kerry Tymchuk, CEO of the Oregon Historical Society and speechwriter for Senators Bob and Elizabeth Dole will present “Laughing (Almost) All the Way To the White House: The Wit of Bob Dole.”

The day will also feature musical performances by Loaded Brass, of the 312th Army Band, US Army Reserves, from Lawrence, Kansas, and singer-songwriter Ryan Manuel. A visit from Dole-era Kansas City Chiefs players, including Tony Adams, adds a full slate of family-friendly activities, crafts, and food trucks.

All events are free and attractions for all ages.

Sponsors of the Landmark Celebration include AARP Kansas and Microsoft

More details at doleinstitute.org/landmark/

A Leadership Legacy becomes an Institutional Mission

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 Congress’ 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.

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 the 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.