Richard Norton Smith, director of the Dole Institute at Kansas University, may soon be announced as the head of the new Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum in Springfield, Ill., according to a Chicago Sun-Times columnist.
In a column published Wednesday, Steve Neal wrote that Smith is Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich's top choice to be the first director of the new library in hopes of building it into a major cultural institution.
Neal wrote, "The governor hopes to formally announce Smith's appointment within two weeks. He has also sought Smith's advice on the future of the library and museum. Smith has also been asked for recommendations on appointments to the library's board and to come up with a long-term plan culminating in the 2009 Lincoln Bicentennial."
Smith, 50, has also served as director of the Herbert Hoover, Dwight D. Eisenhower, Gerald R. Ford and Ronald Reagan libraries and museums.
Smith came to Lawrence in December, 2001, and oversaw the construction and dedication in July of the Robert J. Dole Institute for Public Service and Public Policy on KU's west campus.
Smith was not immediately available for comment Wednesday morning.
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