Bob Dole gets new $1M namesake plaza at Washburn School of Law

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The proposed Robert J. Dole Plaza outside of the new Washburn University Law School.

TOPEKA, Kan. (KSNT) – A familiar Kansas politician is getting an honor in the form of a new $1 million plaza at a Topeka university.

The Washburn University Alumni Association and Foundation announced that a $1 million matching gift challenge has been completed. The funds will help create the Senator Robert J. Dole Plaza. It will complement a new building for the Washburn University School of Law at the corner of 21st and Washburn.

Mark Heitz established the matching challenge to honor Dole’s contribution to Kansas. The Heitz family challenged donors to match their $1 million gift to name the outdoor plaza in honor of Dole.

“Lisa and I knew we wanted to make a substantial contribution and wanted it to be in honor of Sen. Bob Dole,” Heitz said. “We have so much admiration and respect for Sen. Dole that we wanted to make sure the Washburn Law-educated senator who represented Kansas was permanently represented in the new law school building.”

Dole was born in Russell, Kansas and enlisted in the U.S. Army in 1942. After being injured during World War II, Dole enrolled at Washburn for an undergraduate and law degree.

Dole held elected positions in the Kansas House of Representatives and as a U.S. congressman for nearly 30 years.

“I decided Washburn is where I would get the best education,” Dole said. “I learned very quickly the value of hard work. My Washburn education was everything for me as I started my career in public service. I am humbled that Mark, Lisa and all the donors to the plaza chose to honor me at Washburn in this way. I am excited for the future of Washburn Law.”

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