As you know, Bob Dole Hall (on the K-State Campus) is named for Senator Dole, and it was my good fortune to serve as the Head of the Kansas Regents Educational Communications Center from its inception in 1987 until my retirement in 2006. During that time, plans were developed for the actual structure, and it was constructed and equipped with an outstanding staff and state-of-the-art communications technologies ... and still serves educational institutions throughout the nation and in several distant countries.

It was highly appropriate to name the building for Bob Dole, and my distinct honor to get to know him as the building was constructed, and to meet him personally when Bob Dole Hall was formally dedicated. As you may know, he was quite honored by the naming process (which was initiated by former K-State President Jon Wefald, who knew Senator Dole personally).

Throughout the entire process, Senator Dole was extremely gracious (and modest) about the honor, and he spoke to a crowd assembled in front of Dole Hall during the formal dedication ceremony.

We video-taped the entire ceremony (using video technologies that were “state of the art” for that time), and I presented him a copy of that video tape later that day. I’ll send you, via separate email, a copy of the photo of me giving him that copy ... with a note of thanks from Senator Dole himself.

On a separate note, Senator Dole and I are both members of the same collegiate greek fraternity (Kappa Sigma) ... though at different universities (he was initiated at KU, and I was initiated at Baker University, where my dad was also initiated many years ago).

During my year as president of the Kappa Sigma chapter at Baker, we were quite impressed with the fact that Senator Dole was a “brother” and invited him to come to Baker as our guest during one of his trips back to his home State.

We sent him a letter of invitation, signed by all of the 50 or so members of the Chapter at the time, and addressed the letter to “Brother Bob Dole” ... except that we mistakenly left the “r” out of “Brother”. In his response (humorously sent “to all my Kappa Sigma “Bothers”), he said his travel agenda was packed, but he would be in Lawrence shortly. Several of us went to Lawrence to meet with him personally.

The point of all of this is that Bob Dole was (and will always be) a famous Kansan, politician, war hero, and presidential candidate. But he was always humble, proud of his heritage, and possessed with a genuine sense of humor.

Mel Chastain is a Manhattan resident and the former head of the Kansas Regents Educational Communications Center.

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