Earlier this week, the Billy Graham Library and Billy Graham Archive and Research Center had the privilege to welcome a “national treasure,” with the visit of former North Carolina Senator Elizabeth Dole.
In 1996, Billy Graham recalled, “The Doles have been our guests here at our home and we’ve known Mrs. Dole since she was a girl. Her name was Elizabeth Hanford in those days and we called her “Liddy.” And Bob Dole, I’ve known him for, I can’t tell you how many years and he’s been a guest here at our home.”
Not only has Mrs. Dole (and her late husband, former Kansas Senator Robert Dole) been long-time friends with both Billy and Ruth Graham and supporters of our ministries, but the former Senator is also a long-serving Jesus follower who let her spiritual life and heart direct and provide strength to her public service.
Mrs. Dole joined Rev. Graham’s Crusades several times throughout the years, sharing her testimony from the platform and sharing the hope she found in a relationship with Jesus Christ as her Lord and Savior.
About Mrs. Elizabeth Dole
Born in Salisbury, North Carolina, Mrs. Dole graduated with distinction from Duke University and earned both a Master of Arts in Teaching and Juris Doctorate from Harvard University. Beginning in 1967, Dole entered the world of politics and government serving in various capacities under five presidential administrations.
First working in the Johnson administration, she would serve with distinction in the both the Nixon and Ford administrations, rising to become the Secretary of Transportation under Ronald Reagan. Mrs. Dole is famously known for “Liddy Lights” – the center-high mounted rear brake lights now mandated on all cars, and for rules that made safety belts and air bags mandatory in automobiles, as well helping implement raising the drinking age from 18 to 21. So much we take for granted today.
Mrs. Dole later served as the Secretary of Labor under George W. Bush – the first woman to serve in two different Cabinet-level positions in the administration of two presidents.
In 1991, she became President of the American Red Cross and led a transformation of how the Red Cross collects, tests, and distributes the nation’s blood supply.
Her husband, Robert “Bob” Dole, was the Republican nominee for President in 1996 and also ran as the vice-presidential nominee with Gerald Ford in the 1976 Presidential campaign. Mrs. Dole herself ran for President in the 2000 campaign.
In 2002, Mrs. Dole was elected as the first female Senator from her home state of North Carolina, serving until 2008.
Since leaving public office and caring for her husband until his death in 2021, she has championed the cause of caregivers of “wounded warriors” in her organization – The Elizabeth Dole Foundation, still providing service to her country and those who defend the United States.