JACKSON, Tenn. – Sept. 26, 2005– Bob Dole understands what it is like for young people to struggle with preparations for the future.
As a young adult, he suffered near-fatal injuries during World War II, and then faced a grueling rehabilitation with meager resources. Dole went on to become one of the most influential American leaders of the late 20th century.
He will tell his inspirational story as keynote speaker at Union University’s Ninth Annual Scholarship Banquet, set for Tuesday, Sept. 27, at the Carl Perkins Civic Center in Jackson. The event has raised well in excess of $3 million through the years to help Union students pay for their college educations.
U.S. News & World Report recently ranked Union University as a top-tier master’s institution in the South for a ninth consecutive year. In 2005, Union set records for fall enrollment (2,975) and students graduated in an academic year (918).
Dole’s book, “One Soldier’s Story,” was on the New York Times Best Seller List for much of the year following its April 2005 release. The book draws on hundreds of family letters to tell the story of his life before, during and after the battlefield injury.
The native of Russell, Kan. went on to be elected as a U.S. congressman and senator. He represented the Republican Party as its chairman, served as Senate majority leader and as chairman of the powerful Senate Finance Committee. Dole was nominated as a vice presidential candidate with Gerald Ford in 1976, and as GOP presidential candidate in 1996.
“Before we knew this man as a statesman, he was an American soldier who displayed the highest levels of courage, service and strength,” said Union University President David S. Dockery. “Mr. Dole joins a lengthy list of great leaders who have spoken at Union. These leaders shaped the past generation and offer insights to all of us — particularly to our students — on how to influence the future for good.”
Previous scholarship banquets have featured George H.W. Bush, Rudolph Giuliani, James Baker, John Major, Lady Margaret Thatcher, Mikhail Gorbachev, Colin Powell and Lou Holtz.
Donors pledge between $1,000 and $15,000 for tables at the event. Balcony seats sell for $25 each. Union students are offered balcony seats on a first-come, first served basis.
This year’s lead sponsors include BancorpSouth, Carl and Alice Kirkland, Porter-Cable/Delta, DeVilbiss Air Power Company, Schilling Enterprises Inc., White Investments LLC, Roy L. White, President and CEO.
Premier sponsors include Benny and Norma Fesmire, FirstBank, Jack and Zan Holmes, The Jackson Sun, Northwestern Mutual Financial Network/Rod and Amy Parker, Jack and Faye Porter, Mike and Trish Weeks, West Tennessee Healthcare Inc. and an anonymous donor.