Topeka, Kan. – Washburn University announced today it is naming its newest building after one of its most decorated alumni – Sen. Robert J. Dole, who graduated with his undergraduate and law degrees in 1952. The Washburn University Board of Regents unanimously approved the name as Robert J. Dole Hall.

    The University will host a ribbon cutting for the new building to house the Washburn University School of Law at 3 p.m. Friday, July 21. Dole, who passed away in 2021, would have turned 100 years old on July 22.

    “Sen. Dole was a great friend to Washburn and truly lived Washburn’s motto of ‘non nobis solum,’ ‘not for ourselves alone,’ throughout his life,” said Dr. JuliAnn Mazachek, president, Washburn. “We are so proud to call him an alumnus of Washburn University’s School of Law and to dedicate this building in his name to honor his legacy of service and leadership to the people of our great State of Kansas and our nation.”

    Dole was born in Russell, Kan., on July 22, 1923, and enlisted in the Army in 1942. After recovering from an injury sustained during World War II, he enrolled at Washburn. He went on to serve in the Kansas House of Representatives, as Russell County (Kansas) attorney and as a member of the U.S. House of Representatives before spending nearly 30 years as a 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. In January 2018, Dole was honored with the Congressional Gold Medal, Congress’ highest civilian honor. He was given an honorary promotion to Army colonel that same year.

    Dole remained committed to serving and giving back to Washburn throughout his life. Along with his wife, Sen. Elizabeth Dole, they established and funded at Washburn the Senator Robert J. Dole Law Professorship, the Robert J. Dole Center for Law and Government and the Honorable Robert J. Dole Scholarship for Law Students with Disabilities. He served on the School of Law board of governors and the Alumni Association and Foundation board of trustees.

    Washburn recognized Dole with two honorary doctor of law degrees in 1969 and 1985. A bronze statue of Dole was erected on campus in 2018 and, in addition to the building, the outdoor plaza at the new School of Law building will be named in his honor. The Washburn Alumni Association honored Dole with a Distinguished Service Award in 1966, and the School of Law Alumni Association gave him a Lifetime Achievement Award in 2007.


For further information, contact:
Sarah Towle, executive director of engagement
Washburn University Alumni Association and Foundation
Telephone: (785) 670.1744
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