JACKSON, Tenn. – April 26, 2005 – Union University announced today former Senate Majority Leader and U.S. presidential candidate Robert Dole will be the keynote speaker for the Ninth Annual Scholarship Banquet at Jackson’s Carl Perkins Civic Center on Tuesday, Sept. 27.
Dole accepted Union’s invitation while in the midst of a national tour to discuss his new book. “One Soldier’s Story” is a memoir of his harrowing experiences in World War II, drawn from personal letters and other documents his family saved. Dole also gives a candid account of his three-year struggle to recover from near-fatal wounds suffered in combat during the final months of the war.
“The release of his new best selling book provides an ideal time for Union to bring Mr. Dole to Jackson for what has become a wonderful time of celebration in this community each year,” said Union President David S. Dockery. ”Before we knew this man as a statesman, he was an American soldier who displayed the highest levels of courage, service and strength.”
Through rehabilitation, Dole regained limited control of his arms and legs. The lasting effects of his injuries did not prevent him from becoming one of the most influential American political figures of the late 20th century. He represented the Republican Party as its chairman, presidential nominee and vice presidential nominee. He served as Senate Majority Leader and as chairman of the powerful Senate Finance Committee.
“Mr. Dole joins a lengthy list of great leaders who have spoken at Union,” Dockery said. “These leaders shaped the past generation and offer insights to all of us — particularly to our students — on how to influence the future for good.”
Among the previous keynote speakers for the Union Scholarship Banquet are George H.W. Bush, Mikhail Gorbachev, Lady Margaret Thatcher, Colin Powell, James Baker and Rudolph Giuliani.
Union’s Board of Presidential Associates issues the keynote invitation each year for the purpose of raising money for student scholarships. The event has generated about $3 million since 1997. Lead and premier sponsors joined other donors in 2004 to purchase 135 tables for contributions between $1,000 and $15,000. Contributions for the event with former President George Bush totaled $500,000.
This year’s lead sponsors include BancorpSouth, Carl and Alice Kirkland, Porter Cable/Delta & DeVilbiss Air Power Company, Schilling Enterprises and White Investments LLC (Roy L. White, president and chief executive officer). Premier sponsors include FirstBank, Benny and Norma Fesmire, Lloyd Hansen, Jack and Zan Holmes, The Jackson Sun, Jack and Faye Porter, Mike and Trish Weeks, West Tennessee Healthcare and an anonymous donor.
For ticket information, including table sponsorships and individual balcony seating, contact Union’s Office of University Relations at (731) 661-5050.