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Robert J. Dole Named 2020 Kappa Sigma Fraternity Man of the Year

Published July 29, 2021

(LAWRENCE, Kan.)—The Kappa Sigma Fraternity has named United States Senator Robert J. Dole its 2020 Man of the Year, making him the first member of the Fraternity to receive the award twice. The announcement took place this past weekend as part of its 73rd Biennial Grand Conclave held in Nashville, Tenn. Brother Dole was initiated into the Gamma-Omicron Chapter of Kappa Sigma at the University of Kansas on October 4th, 1942.

Brother Dole was decorated as the Kappa Sigma Man of the Year in 1970 and was inducted to the Kappa Sigma Hall of Honor in 2009 as the 14th Brother in the history of Kappa Sigma to be decorated with this significant honor. Brother Dole was named the 2020 Kappa Sigma Man of the Year at the 73rd Biennial Grand Conclave in Nashville, Tennessee, becoming the first Brother ever to win the Man of the Year Award twice.

The 2020 award was accepted on Brother Dole’s behalf by fellow Kappa Sigma Man of the Year Martin C. Petersen, former Executive Director of the Central Intelligence Agency and treasurer of Kappa Sigma’s International Board of Directors, who received the award in 2006. The award was also presented to Dole’s home chapter, the Gamma-Omicron Chapter at the University of Kansas.

“Kappa Sigma has always represented responsibility, kindness and service to others – qualities that have shaped my life in nearly eight decades as a Brother,” Senator Dole said in his acceptance letter. “To have been selected as the Kappa Sigma Fraternity Man of the Year on two separate occasions is a significant honor that means a great deal to me.”

“Brother Dole represents one of the greatest statesmen and public servants that the United States and the State of Kansas have ever known,” said Adam J. Merillat, president of Kappa Sigma’s international board of directors. “Brother Dole has accomplished so much since he was first awarded the Kappa Sigma Man of the Year Award in 1970. Kappa Sigma is grateful for his service and privileged to again honor Brother Dole with this award.”

Brother Dole served in the United States Army during World War II and became a 2nd Lieutenant in the Army’s 10th Mountain Division. In April of 1945, Brother Dole was wounded in combat while engaged with the German Army in the hills of Northern Italy. Brother Dole was decorated three times for heroism, receiving two Purple Hearts for his injuries and the Bronze Star with Combat “V” for valor for his attempt to assist a downed radioman.

Brother Dole represented the State of Kansas in the United States Senate from 1969 to 1996. He was Republican Leader of the United States Senate during the final 11 years of his tenure including three years as Senate Majority Leader. Prior to his service in the Senate, Brother Dole served in the United States House of Representatives from 1961 to 1969. The Robert J. Dole Institute, housed on the University of Kansas Campus in Lawrence, was established to bring bipartisanship back to politics.

President Gerald Ford chose Brother Dole for his running mate as Vice-President in the 1976 election. Brother Dole was also the Republican Nominee for the 1996 presidential election. While on the campaign trail, Brother Dole stopped along the way too many Kappa Sigma Chapter Houses and Chapters to share fellowship and Brotherhood. He was the keynote speaker at the 56th Biennial Grand Conclave of Kappa Sigma in Indianapolis in 1987.

In 2010, Kappa Sigma and the Fisher House Foundation dedicated a Fisher House at the VA Hospital in Washington D.C. in honor of Brother Dole. Brother Dole’s wife, Senator Elizabeth Dole participated and spoke at the groundbreaking and cornerstone dedication ceremony. This was made possible through the hard work and efforts of Chapters of Kappa Sigma Fraternity through the Military Heroes Campaign. This achievement was a most historic moment in the history of the Order and recognized a great patriot and leader in the history of the United States.

A full listing of Kappa Sigma Men of the Year is available at https://www.kappasigma.org/man-of-the-year/