Congress Awards Dole with Highest Honor

Bob DolePresident Donald Trump signed legislation authored by Representative Lynn Jenkins and Senator Pat Roberts on September 15, 2017, to award former Kansas U.S. Senator Robert Dole, BA '52, JD '52, Honorary LL.D '69, and Honorary D.C.L '85, with the Congressional Gold Medal. The medal is the highest expression of national appreciation for distinguished achievements and contributions and the highest civilian honor given by Congress.

“Sen. Dole has spent his life serving the state of Kansas and our country – helping veterans and combating child hunger and poverty,” Jenkins said. “I cannot think of anyone more deserving of a Congressional Gold Medal.”

The signature of the legislation confirms Dole will be awarded the Medal in “recognition for his service to the nation as a soldier, legislator and statesman.” The bill acknowledges Dole’s history at the Law School, where he was enrolled in 1951 when elected to his first political office in the Kansas House of Representatives.

Dole, 94, represented Kansas in the Senate for 27 years. He grew up in Russell, Kansas, and was wounded fighting in Italy during World War II. Despite years of rehabilitation, he never regained full use of his right arm. These experiences influenced his advocacy for veterans and people with disabilities. He raised funds to build the World War II Memorial in Washington and backed the landmark Americans with Disabilities Act.

In a September 6 Facebook post, Dole’s former press secretary Sam Richardson described Dole as a sincere leader who kept “symbolic memor[ies] of his roots close by” in his Senate office, including a battered cigar box of get well and best wishes notes from Russell residents, collected during his initial recuperation from his war injuries.

“Senator Bob Dole never forgets where he is from — Russell, Kansas,” said U.S. Rep. Roger Marshall, of the 1st District covering western Kansas in a September 15 Topeka Capital-Journal story. “Perhaps that’s what made him so effective, and so beloved by his constituents.”