The late Bob Dole (1923-2021) was a BPC co-founder. He served as the Senate majority leader from 1985 to 1987, and from 1995 to 1996, and set a record as the nation’s longest-serving Republican leader. He resigned from the Senate in 1996 to run for president of the United States.
Dole was first elected to Congress from his home state of Kansas in 1960 and to the Senate from Kansas in 1968. He gained national prominence as chairman of the Republican National Committee from 1971 to 1972. In 1976, President Gerald Ford tapped him to be his vice presidential running mate.
Dole served as national chairman of the World War II Memorial Campaign from 1997 to 2004 and was the former chairman of the International Commission on Missing Persons in former Yugoslavia.
Dole’s record of public service includes numerous distinguished appointments, including advisor, U.S. Delegation to the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization, 1965, 1968, 1974, 1975, 1977, 1979; member, Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe, 1977; member, National Commission on Social Security Reform, 1983; member, U.S. National Commission for the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization, 1970, 1973; advisor, U.S. Delegation to Study the Arab Refugee Problem, 1967; and advisor, President’s Delegation to Study the Food Crisis in India, 1966.
He served as chairman of the board of The Dole Foundation, which he established in 1983 to advance educational and workforce opportunities for the disabled. The Robert Dole Scholarship Fund for Disabled Students was established in his honor at the United Negro College Fund. Additionally, Dole was a major spokesman for men’s health issues, hospice care, and Americans with disabilities.
His personal history of service included active duty in World War II, during which he was gravely wounded and received for heroic achievement two Purple Hearts and a Bronze Star with Oak Leaf Cluster.
Dole attended the University of Kansas, Lawrence, and received an A.B. and LL.B from Washburn Municipal University in 1952. He was admitted to practice law in Kansas.