Former U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Dole to Speak at 2015 Norwich Commencement

Tracing a career in public service from the White House to the American Red Cross and beyond, Dole speaks to Norwich University’s “Year of Service” 2019 Bicentennial countdown theme
Updated May 6, 2015

NORTHFIELD, Vt.–Norwich University is honored to announce that former U.S. Senator Elizabeth Dole will deliver its 2015 commencement address to graduating seniors on Saturday, May 9.

Sen. Dole will receive an honorary degree from Norwich University.

A Phi Beta Kappa graduate of Duke University, Elizabeth Dole earned both a law degree and a master of arts in teaching from Harvard University. She later served in the Nixon White House as Deputy to the Special Assistant for Consumer Affairs, an appointment that sparked a career-long interest in public safety and humanitarian work. President Nixon also appointed her to the Federal Trade Commission, where she served as a commissioner for five years.

Dole later served in the Reagan Administration in a variety of posts, including U.S. Secretary of Transportation—the first female to hold the position. She worked on legislation to raise the drinking age to 21 and issued landmark regulation which is credited with the widespread enactment of the first state safety belt laws and air bags in cars. These three actions have saved nearly 400,000 lives to date.

For those efforts, Dole received both the Humanitarian Award from the National Commission Against Drunk Driving and the Lifetime Achievement Award from Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety.

She is perhaps best known as the former president of the American Red Cross and for her own political career as U.S. senator representing her home state of North Carolina. Dole is also the wife of former senator and World War II veteran, Bob Dole.

In 2012, Dole founded the Caring for Military Families: The Elizabeth Dole Foundation, to raise awareness and support for the spouses, mothers, fathers, and other loved ones caring for wounded, ill and injured military personnel. In 2014, she launched a national coalition of public, private, nonprofit, labor and faith leaders to fill the gaps in support provided to these hidden heroes.

Norwich University officials say Dole was the natural choice for its 2015 commencement address given her lifetime of public service. This year, Norwich is celebrating the 2014-15 academic year as the “Year of Service,” the first year in a five-year countdown to the university’s bicentennial celebration in 2019.

During commencement ceremonies starting at 2 p.m. on Saturday, May 9, 2015, Dole will address approximately 400 students matriculating from 32 undergraduate programs and one master’s program. The ceremony, which is free and open to the public, will be held in Shapiro Field House.

During the commencement ceremony, Dole will receive an honorary Norwich degree.

View the schedule to learn more, including how to access the live stream of the ceremony.

Norwich University is a diversified academic institution that educates traditional-age students and adults in a Corps of Cadets and as civilians. Norwich offers a broad selection of traditional and distance-learning programs culminating in Baccalaureate and Graduate Degrees. Norwich University was founded in 1819 by Captain Alden Partridge of the U.S. Army and is the oldest private military college in the United States of America. Norwich is one of our nation’s six senior military colleges and the birthplace of the Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (ROTC).

In fulfillment of Norwich’s mission to train and educate today’s students to be tomorrow’s global leaders and captains of industry, the Forging the Future campaign is committed to creating the best possible learning environment through state-of-the-art academics and world-class facilities. Learn more about the campaign and how to participate in the “Year of Service” here: