A native of Salisbury, NC, Elizabeth Dole graduated with distinction from Duke University as a member of Phi Beta Kappa, earned a law degree from Harvard Law School, and a Master of Arts in Teaching from Harvard University. She served as Deputy to the Special Assistant for Consumer Affairs during the Nixon Administration, launching a career of dedication to public safety, for which she received the Humanitarian Award from the National Commission Against Drunk Driving and the Lifetime Achievement Award from Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety. She was selected for induction into the Safety and Health Hall of Fame International for her transportation, workplace, and blood safety accomplishments. In 2012, the National Safety Council presented her their “Flame of Life Award” as one of the century’s foremost leaders on safety.
Her resume includes six years as a member of the Federal Trade Commission, and two years as Assistant to President Reagan for Public Liaison. In 1983, she became the first woman to be appointed U.S. Secretary of Transportation, serving five years. She later served as U.S. Secretary of Labor where top priorities included workplace safety, resolving the very bitter 11-month Pittston Coal Strike, and initiatives to help youth at-risk.
Throughout her career, she has strived to help women and minorities reach their full potential. Elizabeth Dole learned to leverage resources, look for innovative solutions and inspire people to work together to champion breakthrough issues of quantum importance during her years in public service. For example, as Secretary of Transportation, she worked with the late Senator Lautenberg and the late Senator Lugar to ensure enactment of the 21-year old drinking age. At virtually the same time, she issued a landmark regulation which is credited with widespread enactment of the first state safety belt laws and air bags in cars. These three actions, the “Trifecta”, have saved nearly 500,000 lives to date with a projected 20,000 per year going forward.
Elizabeth Dole was only the second woman to serve as president since Clara Barton founded the American Red Cross in 1881. She totally restructured the world’s largest humanitarian organization during her eight years as president, serving as a volunteer in her first year. She led a massive transformation of the way the Red Cross collects, tests, and distributes one-half of the nation’s blood supply, to ensure that blood is safe to give and safe to get. Following the Red Cross, she sought the Republican presidential nomination, becoming the first viable female candidate from a major political party. Elected in 2002, Senator Dole became the first woman to represent North Carolina in the United States Senate.
In 2012, she founded Caring for Military Families: The Elizabeth Dole Foundation to raise awareness and support for the 5.5 million young spouses, mothers, fathers and other loved ones caring for our nation’s wounded warriors at home. She is leading a movement to expose the military caregiver crisis and generate critical resources to help these hidden heroes.
Senator Dole has received numerous awards. Most recently, she received the Distinguished Service Medal from the American Legion; the Outstanding Civilian Service Medal, Department of the Army; and the Military Officers Association of America’s National Service Award. She was honored by Public Counsel with its prestigious William O. Douglas Award, the AARP Andrus Award, and the Former Members of Congress Association’s Civic Statesmanship Award. Senator Dole resides in Washington, DC.