Chancellor Douglas A. Girod

Audrey Coleman named director of Robert J. Dole Institute of Politics

Wednesday, October 13, 2021


I am excited to announce that Audrey Coleman, a nine-year veteran of the Dole Institute leadership team who has led some of the institute’s most important initiatives, will become the institute’s new director. Audrey will begin her new role November 29.

Audrey is an accomplished institutional, service and cultural heritage leader who currently serves as the institute’s associate director. In this and previous roles at the institute, she served as archivist to Senators 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.

Throughout her tenure at the Dole Institute, Audrey has created transformative programs that have reached audiences and institutions across the region and the nation. She has built partnerships with the Richard Nixon Presidential Library & Museum, Harkin Institute for Public Policy and Citizen Engagement at Drake University, the Edward M. Kennedy Institute for the U.S. Senate, the Virginia Museum of History & Culture, and many other congressional, community and cultural organizations nationwide.

Additionally, Audrey’s long history with Senator Bob Dole and Senator Elizabeth Dole position her to effectively lead the institute and continue its mission to promote civic participation and civil discourse in a bi-partisan manner. Both Senators Dole have expressed to me how delighted they are that Audrey will be heading the institute that bears their name:

“Elizabeth and I are very pleased that Audrey Coleman has been selected as the new director of the Dole Institute of Politics,” Senator Bob Dole said. “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.”

Our search for this position presented talented candidates from across the nation, which speaks volumes of the Dole Institute’s reputation. You may recall in August, I announced that we had selected a new director of the Dole Institute, but that individual subsequently decided to pursue other career options. This gave us the opportunity to go back to our strong pool of applicants and identify Audrey as our next director.

I want to thank the search committee, chaired by Fred Logan, for leading this process. And I want to thank outgoing director Bill Lacy for his leadership of the institute for the past 17 years.

It is always exciting to welcome new leaders like Audrey, and I am confident the Dole Institute will continue to do great work under her leadership. I look forward to her applying her talents and ingenuity to move the institute forward in a way that benefits students, faculty, staff and the broader community.



Douglas A. Girod

One of 34 U.S. public institutions in the prestigious Association of American Universities
44 nationally ranked graduate programs.
—U.S. News & World Report
Top 50 nationwide for size of library collection.
5th nationwide for service to veterans —"Best for Vets: Colleges," Military Times
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The mission of the University of Kansas is to lift students and society by educating leaders, building healthy communities, and making discoveries that change the world.

We will do that by raising the expectations we have for ourselves, the aspirations we have for our state, and the hopes we have for our world.