Archive for Sunday, December 1, 2002

Lectures to be annual event

December 1, 2002


With his first major lecture series complete, the director of the Dole Institute of Politics has his sights set on the future.

Richard Norton Smith, director of the new Kansas University-based institute, said reaction to the Presidential Lecture Series, with speeches by well-known historians, proved there was a niche for such programs.

âÂÂI was very pleased, qualitatively and quantitatively - by just about every measurement possible,â he said. âÂÂIt was more success than we could have wished.âÂÂ

Smith plans to make the Presidential Lecture Series an annual event, and already has selected the first speaker. Robert Caro, the Pulitzer Prize-winning author of âÂÂThe Power Broker: Robert Moses and the Fall of New Yorkâ and several books on Lyndon Johnson, will kick off the series.

Smith is considering a panel discussion of former White House press secretaries. HeâÂÂs even hoping former presidents will lecture.

This yearâÂÂs inaugural event featured three historians. Edmund Morris and Michael Beschloss each drew about 1,800 people, and David McCullough drew about 2,000 people, Smith said.

âÂÂIt was pleasantly surprising,â he said. âÂÂThere were people from Garden City, Salina, Wichita, Emporia - literally all over the state. That tends to confirm my hunch thereâÂÂs a statewide audience for these kinds of programs.âÂÂ

Dole Institute officials also are planning two spring events - a leadership prize and a lecture. Those details havenâÂÂt been finalized.

Smith is focusing on finishing exhibits for the Dole Institute building under construction on West Campus. It is set to be completed this spring, with dedication July 22, 2002 - former Sen. Bob DoleâÂÂs 80th birthday.

Smith is planning a three-day dedication event focusing on DoleâÂÂs World War II generation.

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