KU’s Dole Institute of Politics hires 9-year employee to take over directorship

photo by: University of Kansas

Audrey Coleman

The Dole Institute of Politics at the University of Kansas has announced that it has made an internal hire for the directorship — after a director hired just two months ago abruptly left.

The new director, Audrey Coleman, is a nine-year veteran of the Dole Institute leadership team — currently serving as the institute’s associate director — who has led some of the institute’s most important initiatives, KU Chancellor Douglas Girod announced Wednesday. Coleman will begin her new job Nov. 29.

Coleman served as archivist to Sens. Bob and Elizabeth Dole and led political and historical programming, exhibits, space renovations and other innovative engagement initiatives for audiences of all ages, as well as KU students, Girod said in the news release.

Girod said the Doles had expressed enthusiasm for the hire.

“Elizabeth and I are very pleased that Audrey Coleman has been selected as the new director of the Dole Institute of Politics,” Bob Dole said in the release. “We have known and worked with Audrey for many years, and she personifies everything the institute stands for. She is a proven leader, a gifted and strategic thinker, and a wonderful person. We remain optimistic about the future of the institute with Audrey at the helm. She is a tremendous asset.”

Last week KU announced that Erica Terry, who had been hired for the directorship in late August and was slated to take over Oct. 4, had decided to leave to pursue other opportunities. Girod did not elaborate on why Terry decided to not take the position. Her background in fundraising and nonprofit administration was notably different from that of previous directors of the institute, who have had careers in national politics or were noted presidential historians. Terry most recently had been the CEO and executive director of the Susan G. Komen affiliate for Kansas and Western Missouri. The nonprofit focuses on supporting a cure for breast cancer.

Terry was hired to replace current director Bill Lacy, a longtime campaign strategist and former White House political director for President Ronald Reagan, after Lacy announced that he would retire this fall. Lacy has led the institute for 17 years.

Girod said that after Terry left, KU had the opportunity to go back to its pool of applicants from across the nation and “identify Audrey as our next director.”

The Dole Institute of Politics is located on KU’s West Campus and hosts a series of speakers on topics of politics and culture. It is also home to several permanent displays related to the life and career of the Doles.


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