A tribute with special guests, musical performances, earthwork by Stan Herd, multiple flyovers and more will celebrate what would have been Sen. Bob Dole’s 100th birthday on Saturday.
The Dole Institute of Politics is hosting its “Landmark Celebration for a Legendary Leader.” Dole served in the U.S. Army during World War II, represented Kansas in the U.S. House and Senate for decades, advocated for disability rights and more before dying at age 98 in December 2021.
Events begin at 10 a.m. with a dedication of the commemorative artwork Herd has been shaping in Dole’s honor. Students statewide have contributed images and drawings that have been sealed onto more than 1,000 tiles and incorporated into the artwork’s final design. Gov. Laura Kelly, former U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Dole, and Robin Dole, Dole’s daughter, will be in attendance.
Four T-38 Talons from the 435th Fighter Training Squadron out of Randolph Air Force Base in Texas will fly from the northwest to the southeast over the University of Kansas campus at 11 a.m.
An open house at the Dole Institute will run through 5 p.m. with a special exhibition and activities for kids, including inflatables, face painters, lawn games and more.
There will be musical performances, including Loaded Brass, part of the 312th Army Band, US Army Reserves, starting at 11:30 a.m., and Lawrence-based singer/songwriter Ryan Manuel will perform at 12:15 p.m. and 3:30 p.m.
KPR’s Kaye McIntyre and historian Tai Edwards will be taking veteran oral histories from noon to 5 p.m. Those interested in participating may fill out the release form and biographical form in advance.
Food trucks including Pineapple Dream Dole Whip, JB’s Taco Shop, The Corndog Company, The Pretzelly Truck, and Brain Freeze (non-alcoholic) Daiquiri Shop are slated to be onsite from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Two presentations are planned for 1 p.m. at the Lied Center. The first is “Laughing (Almost) All the Way to the White House: The Wit of Bob Dole,” presented by Kerry Tymchuk, executive director of the Oregon Historical Society and speechwriter to Sens. Bob and Elizabeth Dole.
The second is “Ordinary Men, Extraordinary Legacies: President Gerald Ford and Senator Bob Dole,” featuring Richard Norton Smith, presidential historian and Dole Institute founding director, and Director Emeritus Bill Lacy. Smith will appear virtually for a live interview moderated by Lacy, according to a news release from the Dole Institute.
There will be a birthday party with free birthday treats at 3 p.m. Finally, “A civilian flyover with smoke trail by Derek Rogers, of Lawrence, will cap off the afternoon’s family-friendly outdoor slate of programming” around 4 p.m. according to the release.
The Landmark Celebration events run from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday, July 22. Events are free and open to the public.
Guests are encouraged to arrive early for the dedication and morning events as seating is limited. See more details on the Dole’s website at doleinstitute.org/landmark.
Access to the Dole Institute from Bob Billings Parkway (15th Street) and Crestline Drive is closed for construction. See an alternate route at this link.