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Melanie Coen
Dole Institute of Politics
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2014 Dole Lecture to feature key Democratic leader

Wed, 04/02/2014

LAWRENCE — Democratic political strategist Al From will give the annual Dole Lecture at the Dole Institute of Politics at the University of Kansas this semester. From will discuss his recent book and his involvement in the effective restoration of the Democrat party in a program titled “The New Democrats and the Return to Power featuring Al From.” The Dole Lecture is scheduled for 4 p.m. Sunday, May 4. The event is free, open to the public and contains a book sale and signing.

“Al From is the principal architect for the Clinton presidency and the new Democrat movement, which helped shape the 21st century Democratic Party,” said Dole Institute Director Bill Lacy. “Most of the Dole Lectures have been by or about public figures; this is the first that will honor a person working behind the scenes to change American politics in a major way.”

Al From is one of America’s premier strategists and policy entrepreneurs with a track record of injecting innovative ideas into the national debate and turning major national institutions around. He is the author of the book “The New Democrats and the Return to Power,” published by Palgrave Macmillan. He has appeared on a number of television programs, including “Morning Joe,” “Press Pass with David Gregory,” “The Daily Rundown with Chuck Todd,” “Andrea Mitchell Reports,” and “Up with Steve Kornacki.” Currently he is principal of The From Company LLC, which offers strategic advice to private clients.

“People tend to forget that before President Clinton, Republicans had won five of the last six presidential elections, three by landslide margins,” said Lacy. “Now, Democrats have won four of the last six, due in no small part to Al’s efforts and the effect that the new Democrat movement had on the national political landscape.”

In March 1985, From founded the Democratic Leadership Council, the organization whose ideas and political strategies during the past quarter century played a central role in the resurgence of the modern Democratic Party. He led the DLC from its inception until April 2009. The New York Times Magazine, in February 2010, called the DLC under From’s leadership one of the two “most influential think tanks in history, the primary shapers of political thought at the end of the broadcast age.”

From played a prominent role in the 1992 election of President Bill Clinton and served as domestic policy adviser to the Clinton transition. Before founding the DLC, From was executive director of the House Democratic Caucus, served in President Jimmy Carter’s White House and was staff director of the U.S. Senate Subcommittee on Intergovernmental Relations.

From’s writings have appeared in numerous national publications, including the The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post, The New York Times, The Los Angeles Times, The Chicago Tribune, The Atlantic and Politico.com.

From serves on the Board of Advisers of the Medill School at Northwestern University, the Board of Directors of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce National Chamber Foundation, the Board of Trustees of the Annapolis Symphony Orchestra, the National Advisory Board of The Roosevelt Institute Campus Network, the Board of Directors of the Institute for Behavior and Health, the Executive Board of the University of Maryland’s Center for American Politics and Citizenship and the Advisory Board of the Annapolis Forum. He was appointed to the U.S. Naval Academy Board of Visitors in 1999 and served as chairman until December 2002 when his term expired.

Born in South Bend, Ind., From earned a master's degree in journalism from Northwestern University, was editor of the Daily Northwestern and was named a charter member of the Hall of Achievement of the Medill School of Journalism. He lives in Annapolis, Md., with his wife, Ginger.

On April 14, 1945, Bob Dole was gravely wounded during a WWII battle in Italy. Each spring, on or near April 14, the Dole Institute of Politics hosts The Dole Lecture, a signature event featuring a person or topic addressing some aspect of contemporary politics or policy. Previous Dole Lectures have featured Bill Clinton, Tom Brokaw, Bob Woodward, Sheila Bair and Sens. Tom Daschle and George Mitchell.



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Wanna Skype? Chancellor gets creative to surprise Truman winner. See it here: http://bit.ly/1awodaa
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Ashlie Koehn, a University of Kansas junior from Burns studying in Kyrgyzstan, interrupted helping her host family prepare dinner to make a Skype call on Monday evening.

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Wanna Skype? Chancellor gets creative to surprise Truman winner From KU News Service: http://bit.ly/1awodaa Ashlie Koehn, a University of Kansas junior from Burns studying in Kyrgyzstan, interrupted helping her host family prepare dinner to make a Skype call on Monday evening. To her surprise, Chancellor Bernadette Gray-Little was on the other end of the call letting Koehn know she had been named a 2015 Harry S. Truman Scholar. Koehn is the 18th KU student to be named a Truman Scholar and the only 2015 recipient from the state of Kansas. Earlier this month, she was also named a 2015 Udall Scholar. And in spite of a distance of more than 10,800 kilometers and 11 time zones, Koehn’s thrill from hearing the news from the chancellor came through loud and clear. “Ashlie’s experience at KU epitomizes a quality undergraduate experience. She challenged herself in her coursework, exposed herself to different research opportunities, studied abroad in Germany, Switzerland and Kyrgyzstan, and participated in both student government and community service projects,” Gray-Little said. “This is quite a year for Ashlie. Her hard work is a wonderful reflection on her and also a great reflection on the university, and we all congratulate her.” Each new Truman Scholar receives up to $30,000 for graduate study. Scholars also receive priority admission and supplemental financial aid at some premier graduate institutions, leadership training, career and graduate school counseling, and special internship opportunities within the federal government. Koehn, a member of KU’s nationally recognized University Honors Program, is majoring in environmental studies, economics and international studies. Her goal after earning her KU degree is to pursue a master’s degree in economics at either the London School of Economics or the University of Reading, with a focus on the economics of climate change. In 2014, she received KU’s Newman Civic Engagement Award for her work establishing the Coalition against Slavery and Trafficking. Her involvement with the issue was sparked by Hannah Britton, associate professor of political science and women, gender, and sexuality studies, who hosted national conference on contemporary slavery at KU three years ago. “Ashlie and I met several times to think about what KU students could contribute to the issue of slavery and human trafficking, and the result was her founding of KU CAST,” Britton said. “After a year as president, Ashlie successfully handed the organization over to the next student leader. She demonstrated her strong leadership qualities by setting a unique goal and then pursuing it with her sense of passion, engagement and dedication. No matter the country or context, her leadership strength is evident in her coursework, her public service and her work experiences.” The University Honors Program works with a campus committee to select KU’s nominees for the Truman Scholarship and supports them during the application process. Anne Wallen, assistant director of national fellowships and scholarships, noted it was an amazing ruse to pull off the surprise. Originally, the call was set up to be between Wallen and Koehn. “I was totally not prepared to be greeted by Chancellor Gray-Little, but it was an amazing surprise for sure,” Koehn said. “As a first-generation student, it took time to learn the collegiate system, but my parents taught me to be resourceful and independent from a young age and KU and the Kansas Air National Guard have provided me with the opportunities to drive me into the future, both at graduate school and in my career. I plan to use the Truman Scholarship to pursue a career as an environmental economist helping to shape future trade agreements and leverage action on important international environmental issues, particularly concerning climate change.” Koehn also had a surprise of her own for the chancellor — the meal she was helping to prepare was not exactly typical Kansas dinner fare. On the menu with her host family in Kyrgyzstan on Monday was a traditional Kyrgyz meal called Beshbarmak, or “five fingers,” because you eat it with your hands. The dish is made of horse and sheep and was being prepared as a birthday celebration for Koehn’s host mom. Chancellor Gray-Little, as she signed off from Skype, made sure to encourage Koehn to enjoy her Beshbarmak. Koehn is the daughter of Rodney and Carolyn Koehn of Burns. She graduated from Fredric Remington High School in Moundridge. She is an active member of the Kansas Air National Guard and currently on leave while studying abroad in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan. She is a member of the KU Global Scholars Program and a past member of the Student Senate. In addition to being named a 2015 Truman and Udall scholar, she was named a 2014 Boren Scholar and Gilman Scholar and in 2013 was named the Kansas Air National Guard Airman of the Year.


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