LAWRENCE — The Robert J. Dole Archive and Special Collections, part of the Dole Institute of Politics at the University of Kansas, has awarded its 2015 Robert J. Dole Congressional History Prize in conjunction with the Kansas History Day State Contest. The theme for the 2015 contest was Leadership and Legacy in History.
The Robert J. Dole Congressional History Prize is named in honor of U.S. Sen. Bob Dole and is awarded to three entries, junior or senior division, at the Kansas History Day State Contest that include information about Congress in the accompanying research and presentation. Eligible entries include those that focus on the history of Congress as an institution, politics or lawmaking from a legislative perspective, or the actions of individual members or committees of the House of Representatives or Senate. First place receives $300, second place $200 and third $100.
This year’s first-place award of the Dole prize was presented to Baily Bushnell and Kendall Leatherman for their senior group documentary, “A Champion of the Disabled: Senator Bob Dole’s Leadership Towards the Passage of the Americans with Disabilities Act and Its Historic Legacy.” Bushnell and Leatherman attend Seaman High School in Topeka, and their teacher is Susan Sittenauer.
Nicholas Navarro won second place for his junior individual website, “Harry Colmery and the ‘Servicemen’s Readjustment Act of 1944’ (G.I. Bill of Rights).” He attends Christ the King School in Topeka, and his teacher is Kelly Kelley.
Richard Peterson won third place for his junior individual documentary, “The Antiquities Act: An Act of the Past for the Future.” He attends Seaman Middle School in Topeka, and his teacher is Kyle Johnson.
“It is important for all people, especially our young students, to learn history. Why? It helps us to appreciate the past and shape the future,” said Barbara Ballard, associate director of the Dole Institute.
National History Day is an academic program for elementary and secondary school students. Students choose historical topics related to a designated theme and conduct extensive primary and secondary research through libraries, archives, museums, oral history interviews and historic sites. After analyzing and interpreting their sources and drawing conclusions about their topics’ significance in history, students present their work in original papers, websites, exhibits, performances and documentaries. These products are entered into competitions in the spring at local, state and national levels, where they are evaluated by professional historians and educators. The program culminates in the Kenneth E. Behring National Contest each June at the University of Maryland at College Park.
Bob Dole served in Congress for 36 years. He is the longest-serving Republican leader in the history of the Senate (1985-1996), the 1996 Republican nominee for president and former President Gerald Ford’s vice presidential candidate in 1976. He served in many roles throughout his career, including chairman of the Senate Committee on Finance (1981-1985) and 47th chairman of the Republican National Committee (1971-1973).
The Robert J. Dole Archive & Special Collections at the Dole Institute of Politics is home to one of the nation’s largest collections of papers and artifacts for a nonpresidential politician. It contains the complete records of Dole’s political and post-political career, including manuscripts, photographs, audio-visual material, oral histories, textiles and artifacts. The collection is a window to the legislative process as well as a resource for Kansas history and a chronicle of late 20th century history and popular culture. The Dole Archives offers online modules featuring primary source documents from their collections geared towards History Day students.
The Dole Institute of Politics is dedicated to promoting public service, civic engagement and politics. It is located on KU’s west campus and, in addition to the Archive & Special Collections, offers programming with world-renowned guest speakers on a variety of topics that intersect politics, as well as further educational opportunities for people of all ages. All programs are free and open to the public. Visit www.doleinstitute.org or call 785-864-4900.