Robert Joseph Dole, political leader and statesman, of Russell, Kansas was born in Russell on July 22, 1923, the eldest son of Doran R. and Bina Talbott Dole. He wed Mary Elizabeth Hanford, December 6, 1975, and has one daughter, Robin, from a previous marriage.
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Dole is a graduate of Russell public schools. He attended the University of Kansas, Lawrence, entering in the fall of 1941. He received an A.B. and LL.B from Washburn Municipal University in 1952.
Dole entered active duty in the U.S. Army in June 1943, after completing his sophomore year at the University of Kansas. He served five and one-half years in World War II and was a 10th Mountain Division platoon leader in the Allied liberation of Northern Italy. Twice wounded and twice decorated for "heroic achievement," Dole was discharged with the rank of Captain, in July 1948, having convalesced for three years from grave wounds sustained in combat.
Dole was elected to the Kansas Legislature in 1950 and served in the House of Representatives from 1951 to 1953. He was elected to four consecutive terms as Russell County Attorney, 1952 to 1960. In 1960, Dole was elected to the US House of Representatives and reelected in 1962, 1964, and 1966. He was elected to the US Senate in 1968 and was reelected in 1974, 1980, 1986, and 1992. His distinguished career in the US House and Senate includes, among many assignments, long standing service as a member of the House and Senate committees on agriculture, and Chair, Senate Finance Committee. In 1984, he was elected Senate majority leader, and thereafter served four consecutive Congresses as Senate Republican leader, until he retired from the Senate in 1996 to seek the GOP nomination for the Presidency.
Dole was the Republican candidate for President of the US in 1996, and Republican candidate for Vice President in 1976. He served as Republican National Committee chairman from 1971 to 1973. Among numerous distinguished appointments, Dole has been advisor, US Delegation to the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization, 1965, 1968, 1974, 1975, 1977, 1979; member, Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe, 1977; member, National Commission on Social Security Reform, 1983; member, US National Commission for the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization, 1970, 1973; advisor, US Delegation to Study the Arab Refugee Problem, 1967; and advisor, President's Delegation to Study the Food Crisis in India, 1966.
In addition to his vigorous law practice in the nation's capital, Dole maintains a strong commitment to public service. Among several roles, he is National Chairman of the World War II Memorial Campaign. He chairs the International Commission for Missing Persons investigating ethnic cleansing in the former Yugoslavia. He also serves as President of the influential Federal City Council in Washington, D.C. Among the honors he has been accorded, he is a recipient of the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation's highest honor for distinguished service, the American Legion's prestigious Distinguished Service Medal, and the National Collegiate Athletic Association's Teddy Roosevelt Award. He continues to serve as Chairman of the Board of The Dole Foundation, which he established in 1983 to advance educational and workforce opportunities for the disabled. The Robert Dole Scholarship Fund for Disabled Students has recently been established in his honor at the United Negro College Fund.
A Kansas native with strong ties to his state, Dole's career in public service reaches from World War II through the close of the century.
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