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Although the end of the spring semester is nearing at Kansas University, the Dole Institute of Politics on KU’s West Campus will roll on into the summer with several events over the next few months, including an in-depth look at the Battle of Gettysburg and a celebration of former U.S. Sen. Bob Dole’s 90th birthday.
The three-day Battle of Gettysburg, the deadliest of the Civil War, was fought in July 1863, and the Dole Institute will mark its 150th anniversary with a special event June 20, director Bill Lacy said.
The institute will bring in a panel of historians and military experts for an event similar to the post-election conferences it holds every two years, Lacy said. The experts will examine some of the battle’s nitty-gritty details during some afternoon sessions intended for “Civil War junkies,” he said, followed by an evening talk for a general audience that will focus on some of the battle’s most crucial decisions.
“A person could come and spend the whole day here learning about Gettysburg if they wanted to,” Lacy said.
About a month later, July 22, the institute will celebrate the 90th birthday of its namesake, Bob Dole. Dole won’t be able to attend, Lacy said, and no large production is planned, but there will be an open house and a “community celebration” to mark the occasion.
“We’re just going to open up the Dole Institute and serve cake and punch,” Lacy said.
Also coming during the summer will be a five-week study group on municipal politics, led by the institute’s summer fellow, Kansas City, Mo., political consultant Steve Glorioso. And regular summer events include the Youth Civic Leadership Institute, where 50 high-school seniors from the state come for a three-day program, and the Government and History High School Teacher Conference, which brings in teachers from throughout the state.
This summer also marks the 10th anniversary of the institute’s opening, and Lacy said a series of events and new exhibits during the coming year will mark the milestone. Those events will be announced in the coming months.
With the new exhibits, Lacy said institute leaders hope to encourage children and young people, some of whom may have no memory of Dole’s political career, to come and learn about the former senator and KU alumnus.
Specific times for the institute's summer events are still to be set. They'll be announced on the institute's website, doleinstitute.org, and via its email newsletter.