In a $520 billion spending bill approved Wednesday, Congress included $6 million for KU's Dole Institute.
Kansas University officials on Wednesday were rejoicing at the news that Congress had approved $6 million in federal funds for the Robert J. Dole Institute for Public Service and Public Policy.
The $6 million will be earmarked for lectures, seminars, internships and for assembling the archives of the former U.S. senator from Kansas.
KU Chancellor Robert Hemenway said Congress, out of respect for Dole, "wanted to make sure this institute would have the kind of support that would make it available to all Americans, not just people in Kansas. Frankly, I think a lot of people traveling on I-70 will want to stop and look at the Bob Dole collection."
Leroy Towns, chief of staff for U.S. Sen. Pat Roberts, said Wednesday that a delegation led by Roberts has been meeting for almost two years to discuss funding for the institute.
In the spring, the Kansas Legislature approved $3 million in state funds to match $3 million in private funds raised for construction of the institute on KU's West Campus.
With the new federal program match approved Wednesday, total funding for the project jumped to $12 million.
A large portion of the money will be used to assemble Dole's archives. Including more than 4,000 linear feet of paper, 15,000 photographs and hundreds of audio and video tapes, the collection is believed to represent the largest accumulation of congressional documents in American history.
"We're working through space issues right now and designing a very fine state-of-the-art facility for the archives," institute archivist Bryan Culp said. The architect for the project, ASAI of Lenexa, recently submitted preliminary drawings.
Culp next week will travel to Washington, D.C., to pick up the latest batch of Dole records.
In a time when politics is dominated by bad press, Hemenway said, the institute should serve as a reminder of the value of being a public servant.
"The Dole Institute will be able to be a living, breathing, active institute that both honors Sen. Dole and involves young people and public officials in contemplating careers in public service," Hemenway said.
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