HUTCHINSON — As part of the state’s commemoration of the Kansas sesquicentennial during 2011, Governor Sam Brownback today announced the last five of 25 Notable Kansans at an event at the Kansas State Fair in Hutchinson. The notables honored this morning were Bob Dole, Dwight Eisenhower, Jack Kilby, Carry Nation, and William Allen White.
Bob Dole was born in Russell. He was a second lieutenant in the army during World War II and received a Bronze Star and Purple Heart. Dole served as a United States senator from 1969 to 1996 and was two-time senate majority leader and minority leader. He was Gerald Ford’s vice presidential running mate in 1976 and was the Republican presidential candidate in 1996. Dole received the American Patriot Award in 2004. At today’s event Dole’s biography was read by Dave Kerr, president of the Hutchinson/Reno County Chamber of Commerce. Kerr is a former Kansas Senate president and has a longtime friendship with Dole.
Dwight Eisenhower was born in Texas and grew up in Abilene. He liked football as a student, and his favorite subject was history. Eisenhower served as chief of staff of the U.S. Army. He was also commander of the allied forces in Europe during World War II and became a five star general. Eisenhower also served two terms as president of the United States, from 1953 to 1961. At today’s event, Eisenhower’s biography was read by Meredith Sleichter of the Eisenhower Foundation in Abilene.
Jack Kilby graduated from Great Bend High School. He invented the integrated circuit, or microchip, and co-invented the pocket calculator and the thermal printer used in portable data terminals. Kilby received the Nobel Prize in Physics in the year 2000 and held more than 60 U.S. patents. At today’s event, Kilby’s biography was read by his high school classmate, Glenn Opie, who worked to create Jack Kilby Square in Great Bend, where a bronze memorial to Kilby will be installed next spring.
Carry Nation grew up in Kentucky and Missouri. After her first husband died from alcoholism, she worked against the drinking of alcohol through the women's temperance movement. Nation moved to Medicine Lodge in 1890 and led her "Home Defenders" to smash bars and saloons. The hatchet she used to destroy these businesses became her symbol. At today’s event, Nation’s biography was read by Dorothy Reed, president of the Carry Nation Home Museum in Medicine Lodge.
William Allen White was born in Emporia and bought the Emporia Gazette newspaper in 1895. He hosted several U.S. presidents at his home and was known as the “Sage of Emporia.” White wrote influential editorials and several books. He received two Pulitzer Prizes and a children’s book award is named for him. At today’s event, White’s biography was read by his great grandson, Chris Walker, who continues the family legacy as editor and publisher of the Emporia Gazette.
Events commemorating the top 12 events in Kansas history will be held later in the fall.
The 25 Notable Kansans were selected by the governor’s blue ribbon panel for history. The panel is comprised of: Don Chubb, Topeka; Dr. Virgil Dean, Kansas Historical Society; Gayle Garrelts, Hays; Dr. James Hoy, Emporia State University; Bob Keckeisen, Kansas Historical Society; Nathan McAlister, Royal Valley High School;
Dr. Leo Oliva, Woodston; Mary Regan, Finney County Historical Society; J. Schafer, Kansas Public Radio; Dr. James Shortridge, University of Kansas; and Dr. Raymond Wilson, Fort Hays State University.