At 100, Dick Schiefelbusch evinces the art of aging gracefully

Posted on Jul 30, 2018 in Campus News and News

Dick Schiefelbusch's 100th birthday

Distinguished service

Sheer joy and gratitude beamed from University legend Richard Schiefelbusch and the faces of more than 100 celebrants July 28, when KU’s guiding light of teaching and research in human development marked his 100th birthday. His daughter Jeanie Schiefelbusch and the Alumni Association hosted the afternoon event at the Adams Alumni Center.

Dick Schiefelbusch, g’47, became a pioneer in the study of speech, language and hearing after surviving two years in a World War II German prison camp, where he found his calling: a life and career dedicated to helping others. He established KU’s Speech Language Hearing clinic, which bears his name, and for more than 50 years served as a mentor to some of KU’s most accomplished researchers, many of whom attended the party. Schiefelbusch, who grew up on an Osawatomie farm and attended a one-room schoolhouse, earned numerous honors throughout his career, including the Distinguished Service Citation from the Alumni Association and KU. The University’s renowned Institute for Life Span Studies is also named for him.

Seated in front of an array of flags presented by KU’s ROTC units, Schiefelbusch laughed, smiled and made silly faces for countless photos as well-wishers took turns greeting him. A sign on the dessert table hailed him as “The Wise Man of the Prairie” as his three children and representatives from KU’s Veterans Alumni Network (VAN), the Kansas National Guard, the Veterans of Foreign Wars and Haskell Indian Nations University shared tributes. Mike Denning, c’83, director of military graduate studies at KU and president of the VAN, presented Schiefelbusch a framed commemorative challenge coin, and Randy Masten, g’03, assistant director of military graduate studies and secretary of the VAN, read a congratulatory letter from fellow WWII veteran Sen. Bob Dole, ’45, who turned 95 the day before Schiefelbusch turned 100.

Dick Schiefelbusch's 100th birthday

Daughter Carol Schiefelbusch McMillin, ’79, said Dole’s letter was especially touching because the longtime Kansas senator, who suffered grave battle wounds in Italy during WWII, had long championed the research led by Schiefelbusch and other KU scholars. “It just means the world, because his support was so important to Dad’s work and the work of so many others,” she said. In the 1980s, Dole helped secure federal research funding for KU, including a pivotal $9 million grant, and later that decade KU dedicated the Robert J. Dole Human Development Center on Sunnyside Avenue to honor his leadership.

Jeanie, d’80, g’90, said she is grateful “every single day” to her dad, and her brother, Lary, c’65, g’65, described his father’s gratitude to the German citizens who rescued him from the Baltic Sea after his fighter plane was shot down. He echoed his sister’s praise for their dad. “I never knew him to fail me, and I never knew him to falter in his support,” he said. “He gave us something to reach for, but there was never pressure. … He always spoke well of the people he worked with, and he always taught us the importance of collaboration, collaboration, collaboration.” As he repeated one of his father’s favorite words, the crowd joined in the refrain.

When it was his turn to speak, the guest of honor heaped praise on others. “It seems to me that I’ve arrived in the right place in the United States and this world to live my life,” Schiefelbusch declared, “in the company of such helpful people, such rewarding people, such creative people. It is a privilege to be right where I am.”

Sir, the privilege is all ours.

–Jennifer Sanner

Dick Schiefelbusch graced the cover of Issue No. 6, 2009 of Kansas Alumni magazine for a feature story by Julie Mettenburg titled The Particular Genius of Richard Schiefelbusch.

Tags: , , , , , , ,

Youngsters celebrate Senator Dole’s birthday

Posted on Jul 23, 2013 in Campus News and News

The Dole Institute of Politics hosted a celebration of Senator Bob Dole’s 90th birthday yesterday.

The event featured birthday cake, party hats and a giant birthday card for the public to sign– along with events that are more typically found at a child’s birthday party. Local children, including a group from the Boys & Girls Club, made political buttons, ate cupcakes and enjoyed scavenger hunts in the gallery. The Lawrence Public Library also partnered with the Dole Institute to host Story Time.

Check out our photos from the event here, or watch the slideshow below:



Photos by Dan Storey. Read more about the event from the Lawrence Journal-World.

Tags: , ,

My summer with the Senator

Posted on Jul 22, 2013 in Campus News and News

For one glorious summer before my senior year at KU, I worked on Capitol Hill as an intern for then-Senator Nancy Landon Kassebaum. The Kansas contingent worked closely together, so I got to know many of the hardworking staff members in the Senate Minority Leader’s office when Senator Bob Dole’s influence was at its peak. Politics aside, I recall him holding the respect of everyone in Washington as one of the elder statesmen of the Senate, two years before his presidential bid came up short. It was the summer of 1994: Bill Clinton was in the White House, Dole and Ted Kennedy were Senate stalwarts and Strom Thurmond was still going strong. It was a great time to be in D.C.

Dole_ballAmong the cherished memories I took from my time in Washington, one keepsake still sits in a bookcase in my office. The summer softball league on Capitol Hill is fiercely competitive, and the season finale featured the two teams representing the Senators from the great state of Kansas. The Senator Nancy Landon “Kassebombers” were pitted against the Senator Bob Dole team-without-a-cool-name. While they may not have been political rivals, on the diamond it was a different story.

The hard-fought contest played at sunset on the Mall came down to the final out, which—as fate would have it—happened when I tagged a Dole staffer out at second base. Walking off the field holding the game ball, I decided it would be fun to have both Senators sign the game ball. They did, but it took some work. Senator Kassebaum, of course, relished the request; however it took a few days before a Dole staffer worked up the courage to ask the Senator for an autograph commemorating the losing effort. Senator Dole, always a good sport with a great sense of humor, honored the request with a smile, vowing to whip us the next year. The ball is something I cherish as much as my time working on Capitol Hill with two great senators.

Happy 90th birthday, Senator Dole.

—David Johnston

Tags: , , , ,

You’re invited to celebrate Senator Dole’s 90th birthday

Posted on Jul 19, 2013 in Campus News and News

Bob Dole |
This is a guest post by Heather Anderson, communications and events coordinator for the Dole Institute of Politics.

The Dole Institute is honored to be celebrating Senator Dole’s 90th birthday on Monday, July 22. Senator Dole has always been proud to begin his college career as a Jayhawk, and his 90th birthday is a great opportunity for the KU community to celebrate his life and legacy.

Senator Dole truly inspires everything we do here, and we always try to emulate the wonderful example of leadership, civility and service he’s given us. The Dole Institute wants to give just a little back to the wonderful community that has embraced us for the past 10 years with a free, public celebration in honor of our inspiration.

Come by the Dole Institute any time from 12 to 4:30 p.m. on Monday for cake, family-friendly activities and to write a birthday message to the Senator. You won’t want to miss out on an afternoon of birthday fun!

For more information about the birthday celebration, click here.

Tags: , , ,