TOPEKA — Washburn University recently unveiled a bronze statue and celebrating the lifetime achievements of Senator Bob Dole. It was the first commissioned bronze statue of Dole ever created.
“Senator Dole’s honorable career as a public servant embodies what we want Washburn students to reflect on while they are receiving their education. His career was built on service to others, to the country, and to the world, and what can be achieved when we focus on finding common ground,” Washburn University President Jerry Farley said at the unveiling on Friday, Sept. 28. “We are thankful for his leadership at Washburn and in the state of Kansas. We are honored to be able to celebrate his life with the dedication of this statue.”
The statue is a gift to Washburn University from John Pinegar (BA ’82), and the Doug and Kathleen (BBA ’84) Smith family and is located north of stately Carnegie Hall on Washburn’s campus.
“Washburn provided me with a firm foundation to set my sights on great things,” said Dole (BA ’52, JD ’52, H ’69, H ’85). “For my generation, which had won a war overseas but then had to create a better future back home, Washburn gave us that new start through education.”
During the war, Dole suffered devastating injuries while trying to help a fellow soldier. He was later awarded two Purple Hearts and a Bronze Star for his service. He has developed a worldwide reputation for public service, holding elected positions in the Kansas House of Representatives, as Russell County attorney and as U.S. congressman before spending nearly 30 years as U.S. senator. He was chair of the Republican National Committee, Senate Minority Leader and Senate Majority Leader, where he set a record as the longest-serving Republican leader. Dole was President Gerald Ford’s vice presidential running mate in 1976 and a Republican presidential candidate in both 1988 and 1996, earning the GOP nomination in 1996. He served as national chair of the World War II Memorial Campaign and has been a strong advocate for veterans and the disabled.
In January, Dole was honored with the Congressional Gold Medal, Congress’ highest civilian honor.
Washburn conferred on him an honorary doctor of laws degree in 1969 and an honorary doctor of civil law in 1985. He received the Washburn Alumni Association Distinguished Service Award in 1966. The Washburn University School of Law honored him with the Alumni Association Distinguished Service Award in 1981 and the Lifetime Achievement Award in 2007.
The School of Law houses the Robert J. Dole Center for Law and Government, where a professorship was also established in his name. A special scholarship bearing his name is designated for law students with disabilities. He served 11 years as a trustee of the Washburn University Foundation and has served as trustee emeritus since 1998.
Dole currently serves as special counsel in the Washington, D.C., office of Alston & Bird LLP, a leading national and international law firm.