Legacies of Leadership
Shortly after his loss in the 1996 presidential election, Senator Bob Dole was asked by Chancellor Robert Hemenway to entrust his congressional papers, accrued over 35 years of public service, to the University of Kansas, where he had studied before he began his WWII service.
Together, Senator Dole and the University of Kansas developed the Dole Institute to not only house and catalog these congressional papers for research use, but to offer public opportunities for all individuals to discover how they might best serve their community, their state, and their nation. In 2017, the institute’s collections expanded with the addition of Senator Elizabeth Dole’s career papers.
Opened in 2003, the mission of the Dole Institute of Politics is to promote political and civic participation as well as civil discourse in a bi-partisan, balanced manner.
By providing a forum for discussion of political and economic issues, fostering public service leadership and encouraging participation in the political process, we emphasize that politics is an honorable profession and that only through political and civic participation can citizens redirect the course of our nation. While the objective is to accomplish this mission on a broad scale, our location at the University of Kansas provides a unique opportunity for outreach to young people and students.
We utilize the three distinct components of the Dole Institute to accomplish this mission: unique displays that tell the compelling story of Bob Dole’s life in the context of Kansas and The Greatest Generation; one of the largest congressional archives in existence which houses all of Senator Bob Dole’s congressional papers and Senator Elizabeth Dole’s career papers; and finally, the vigorous public programming conducted by the Dole Institute.