The Robert J. Dole Institute of Politics, often shortened to the Dole Institute, is a nonpartisan political institution housed at the University of Kansas founded by the former U.S. Senator from Kansas and 1996 Republican presidential candidate Bob Dole. Opened on July 22, 2003 - Dole's 80th birthday - the institute's $11 million, facility houses Dole's papers and hosts frequent political events. The institute is officially non-partisan and has sponsored on-campus programs featuring prominent politicians of both major parties. The institute sponsors the Dole Lecture, which is given in April and features a nationally prominent figure addressing some aspect of contemporary politics or policy. The institute awards the annual Dole Leadership Prize each September, which includes a $25,000 cash award. The Presidential Lecture Series features the nation's leading presidential scholars, historians, journalists, as well as others including former Presidents, cabinet officers, and White House staff members who discuss the nation's highest office in ways that combine scholarly rigor with popular access. The director of the institute is Bill Lacy, who worked as a strategist on Sen. Dole's 1988 and 1996 presidential campaigns and his 1992 senatorial campaign. Before Lacy's arrival in 2004, Steve McAllister, a former dean of the University of Kansas law school, served as interim director from October 2003 to September 2004. Richard Norton Smith, a presidential historian, was the first director and held the position for two years. Lacy took a leave of absence from the institute to work on the presidential campaign of former Sen. Fred Thompson and returned to his role as director in the spring of 2008.
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Robert J. Dole Institute of Politics
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