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Elizabeth Dole, president of the American Red Cross and wife of 1996 Republican presidential candidate Robert J. Dole, will give the Kennedy School of Government's Class Day Speech on June 3.
Elizabeth Dole served as Secretary of Transportation for President Reagan and Secretary of Labor under President Bush, the first woman to hold Cabinet-level positions for two presidents.
She currently oversees an American Red Cross staff of nearly 30,000 and an army of more than 1 million volunteers.
"She's a very distinguished public servant, a prominent political figure and a potential presidential candidate. A lot of students here respect the work she's done--especially with the Red Cross--even if they don't agree with all her politics," said Nick J. Bent, president of the student government at the Kennedy School. "We're delighted she's coming."
The husband-wife team will be making their second high-profile tour of Harvard in the past year.
Bob Dole suggested that his wife would make a great president in a speech at the ARCO Forum last spring.
He also gave a guest lecture in a course on Congress and the press taught by former Sen. Alan K. Simpson (R-Wyom.). Simpson, who now directs the Institute of Politics, was the Republican majority whip under Dole, the no. 2 leadership position in the Senate.
The Doles' ties to Harvard also include Bob Dole's former chief of staff and current executive dean of the Kennedy School Sheila Burke, who was instrumental in securing Elizabeth's commitment, said Catherine A. McLaughlin, IOP deputy director.
"We're very excited that [Elizabeth Dole] will be speaking at the Kennedy School," McLaughlin said. "About one-third of our students go into non-profits, and she'll bring a tremendous amount of experience."
Previous Class Day Speakers include Sen. Olympia Snowe (R-Me.), Richard Holbrooke, chief of the U.N. weapon inspection team in Iraq, and Professor of Afro-American Studies Cornel West.
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