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Bob Dole

U.S. Senator

Robert J. Dole

Robert Joseph Dole was born in Russell, Kansas, on July 22, 1923. He graduated from Russell High School in 1941, where he had been a member of the National Honor Society and played on the basketball team. He then enrolled at the University of Kansas as a pre-med student, participating on the basketball, football and track teams before being called to active duty in World War II.

Dole was called into the infantry in June 1943 and was commissioned Second Lieutenant, after completion of Officer Candidate School, in November 1944. He then served as a 10th Mountain Division platoon leader in the Allied liberation of Northern Italy. Twice wounded and twice decorated for heroic achievement, he was discharged with the rank of Captain in July 1948, having convalesced for three years to recover from severe wounds that left his right arm paralyzed.

Returning home, Dole attended the University of Arizona from 1948 to 1949. He then transferred to Washburn Municipal University (now Washburn University), from which he received his undergraduate degree; he received his law degree from Washburn in 1952. His political career began while he was still at Washburn, as outlined below.

Chronology of His Political Career

1951-1953 Member of the Kansas House of Representatives.
1953-1961 Russell County Attorney.
1961-1969 Member of the U.S. House of Representatives.
Member of the Committee on Agriculture.
1969-1996 Member of the U.S. Senate.
Majority Leader from 1985 to 1987, and again from 1995-1996.
Minority Leader from 1987-1995.
Chairman of the Committee on Finance (97th-98th Congresses).
Member of the Special Committee on Security and Cooperation in Europe (99th Congress).
Member of the Committee on Agriculture.
1971-1972 Chairman of the Republican National Committee.
1976 Vice-Presidential candidate on the Republican ticket with President Gerald Ford.
Lost to the Democratic ticket of James Earl Carter and Walter Mondale.
1979-1980 Candidate for the Republican presidential nomination.
Withdrew from the race after finishing last in the New Hampshire primary.
1987-1988 Candidate for the Republican presidential nomination.
Withdrew from the race.
1995-1996 Candidate for the Republican presidential nomination, which he subsequently won.
May 15, 1996 Resigned from the Senate to be a full-time presidential candidate.
Was defeated by President Bill Clinton.

Other Important Positions Held

Other positions held by Dole during his career include:
advisor, President's Delegation to Study the Food Crisis in India (1966)
advisor, U.S. Delegation to Study the Arab Refugee Problem (1967)
advisor, U.S. Delegation to the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (1965, 1968, 1974, 1975, 1977, 1979)
member, U.S. National Commission for the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (1970, 1973)
member, Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe (1977)
advisor, GATT Ministerial Trade Conference (1982)
member, National Commission on Social Security Reform (1983)
member, Martin Luther King, Jr., Federal Holiday Commission (1984)
chairman, International Commission on Missing Persons in the Former Republic of Yugoslavia (1997-2001)
national chairman, National World War II Memorial (1997-2004)

Dole was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom on January 17, 1997. He also received the American Legion's Distinguished Service Medal, and the National Collegiate Athletic Association's Teddy Roosevelt Award. He has been engaged in the practice of law in Washington, D.C., since 1997.

Family Life

Bob Dole married Phyllis Holden in June 1948, with whom he had one daughter, Robin. The couple divorced in January 1972. He married Elizabeth Hanford on December 6, 1975.

Official Website

The Robert J. Dole Institute of Politics

See Also

World War II
President Gerald Ford
Walter Mondale

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This page was last updated on September 14, 2018.