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Elizabeth Hanford Dole Edit Profile

cabinet member , lawyer , politician , Senator

Elizabeth Hanford Dole, former United States Senator from North Carolina. Trustee Duke University, 1974-1988; member council Harvard Law School Associates, member visiting committee Harvard School Public Health, 1992-1995; member board overseers Harvard University, 1989-1995; honorary chair, Project RoundHouse, 2001. Member Phi Beta Kappa, Pi Lambda Theta, Pi Sigma Alpha.


Dole, Elizabeth Hanford was born on July 29, 1936 in Salisbury, North Carolina. Daughter of John Van and Mary Ella (Cathey) Hanford.Elizabeth (self-nicknamed "Liddy" at the age of two) had a comfortable childhood, complete with a summer house and ballet lessons. She learned self improvement as a "measure of personal growth" and "a way to satisfy my goal-orientated parents," who encouraged her to enter essay contests or practice the piano. She also described herself as the "ringleader of neighborhood children" and a "precocious organizer."


Bachelor in Political Science, with honors, Duke University, 1958; Postgrad., Oxford University, England, 1959; Master of Arts in Education and Government, Harvard University, 1960; Juris Doctor, Harvard University, 1965; Bar: DC 1966.

Elizabeth was voted Most Likely to Succeed when she graduated from high school and followed in her brother's footsteps by enrolling at Duke University in the fall of 1954. Her mother, whom she calls her "best friend," encouraged her to study home economics, but Elizabeth decided on political science.

At Duke, Elizabeth became student body president and graduated with honors in 1958. Next, she did post-graduate work at Oxford in 1959, then received a master's degree in education from Harvard. After earning a masters degree, Elizabeth decided to pursue a law degree. The decision literally made her mother ill. Mrs. Hanford had her heart set on Elizabeth marrying, and building a house on the lot next to hers in Salisbury.

In 1962, Elizabeth became one of 24 women (in a class of 550) to enter Harvard Law School and in 1965 she graduated. In the fall of 1965, she moved to Washington D.C., and soon landed a job with the Department of Health, Education and Welfare. This was during the heyday of LBJ's Great Society program -- Elizabeth Dole has joked that while her future husband was voting against the Great Society, she was working for it. At HEW she planned a large conference on the education of the deaf.


Staff assistant to assistant secretary for education United States Department Health Education & Welfare, Washington, 1966-1967; private law practice, 1967-1968; associate director legislation affairs, then executive director President's Committee for Consumer Interests, 1968-1971; deputy assistant to President The White House, 1971-1973; commissioner Federal Trade Commission, 1973-1979; chairman Voters for Reagan-Bush, 1980; director Human Services Group, Office of Executive Branch Management, Office of President-Elect, 1980; assistant to President for public liaison The White House, 1981-1983; secretary United States Department Transportation, 1983-1987; with Robert Dole Presidential Campaign, 1987-1988; participant 1988 Presidential and Congressional campaigns; secretary United States Department Labor, 1989-1990; president American Red Cross, 1991-1999; United States Senator from North Carolina, 2003—2009; chair National Republican Senatorial Committee, since 2005; Member nominating committee North Carolina Consumer Council, 1972; member committee armed forces, United States Senate, committee banking, housing and urban affairs, special committee aging. Author (with Bob Dole Richard Norton Smith and Kerry Tymchuk): (autobiography) Unlimited Partners, 1996; author: Hearts Touched With Fire, 2006.

In 1973 Dole was nominated to be one of five commissioners on the Federal Trade Commission (FTC). Once appointed, she became known for her enforcement of the Equal Credit Opportunity Act of 1975, which gives all people in the United States an equal chance to receive credit and loans, and for investigating nursing home abuses. A colleague at the FTC remembered her priorities as "the poor, the handicapped, minorities, and women."

Although Dole was a Democrat in her early years, she became a registered Independent, and then, after her marriage, she became a Republican. She campaigned vigorously when her husband ran for vice president in 1976. When he ran for president in 1979, she gave up her position as FTC commissioner to campaign for him full-time. Although that campaign was unsuccessful, by 1980 "Liddy" Dole was becoming well known as one of the Republican Party's most outstanding female leaders and recognized as a competitor for high political office.


  • In January of 1989, President Bush swore in Elizabeth Dole as the nation's 20th Secretary of Labor. As Labor Secretary, she served as the President's chief adviser on labor and work force issues. She has worked to help shatter the glass ceiling for America s working women and minorities, increase safety and health in the workplace, upgrade the skills of the American work force, and improve relations between labor and management, playing a key role in bringing the parties together to resolve the bitter eleven month Pittston Coal Strike.

    In 1993, Women Executives in State Government honored Elizabeth Dole with their Lifetime Achievement Award for her many achievements in helping women and minorities break through the glass ceiling. Also this year, she was selected for induction into the Safety and Health Hall of Fame International for her numerous transportation, workplace, and blood safety accomplishments. She went on to receive the North Carolina Press Association's first North Carolinian of the Year Award.

    As President of the American Red Cross, Elizabeth Dole oversaw nearly 30,000 staff members and more than 1.5 million volunteers who comprise the world's foremost humanitarian organization. She was a member of that volunteer force in 1991, taking no salary her first year.


Methodist. Elizabeth Dole, a lifelong Methodist, has always been a religious person but in 1982, after fearing her career was the center of her life, she had a spiritual awakening of sorts. Elizabeth began attending meetings once a week at Washington church where she would discuss her spiritual goals. There was no epiphany, but she began to take religion much more seriously and religion provided her with inner peace. On the campaign trail in 1996 she travels with a turquoise leather Bible, trying to set time aside to read from it every day, according to Time magazine.




Her family always taught her to trust and believe in God in anything she did, and that God would always no matter what, get you through the tough times.

Elizabeth today has many beliefs and values that she learned from her family. She is very conservative like her father. She believes in good morals, and doing what's right. Also, she believes in trusting in God with all your heart. She believes in doing God's will.


  • Phi Beta Kappa

  • Pi Lambda Theta

  • Pi Sigma Alpha.


Dole always an excellent student, she was also active in drama and student government. She was elected president of her freshman class in high school. She attended Duke University and majored in political science. Dole was often described as friendly, gracious, and "brainy," attributes that led to her election as college May Queen, as student body president, and to Phi Beta Kappa (an undergraduate honors society). [http://www.notablebiographies.com/De-Du/Dole-Elizabeth.html]

Elizabeth Hanford Dole has surpassed any expectations ever set upon her by friends and family, yet she is still faced with her perfectionist ways that led her to many years in public service for the United States (Bio). She is a profound, intellectual, over-accomplished woman who has let nothing stand in her way of getting what she wants. Elizabeth has spent almost three decades in the public’s view, she has no children, no house, and no one knows her well. She put her career on hold numerous times to help campaign for her husband, Bob Dole, in presidential elections and is now considering to run for President in 2000, which will only add to her numerous achievements (Elizabeth).


Spouse Robert Joseph Dole (former United States Senator from Kansas), December 6, 1975.


Elizabeth's father was a very fiscal conservative. He built a successful whole sale flower business and it was said that he looked and acted like Harry Truman. He was a registered Democrat so he could participate in the NC primaries where almost every year a Democrat won. He eventually became fed up with the Democratic Party and registered as a Republican the year that Eisenhower first ran for president. Sadly, her father passed away in 1981.


Elizabeth's mother was a very kind natured person and was involved with many church activities. Elizabeth considered her mom, her best friend. Elizabeth said she learned the virtue of giving your all from her mother.

Bob Dole
Bob Dole - Husbund of Elizabeth Dole