American Red Cross president Elizabeth Dole will speak at the University of Rochester's 145th commencement on Sunday, May 28, 1995. Dole also will receive an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters degree.
Dole heads one of the world's largest humanitarian organizations, with 30,000 staff members and more than 1.5 million volunteers around the world. Four months after joining the American Red Cross in 1991, Dole secured approval for a $148 million blood system designed to ensure the safety of the blood supply. Dole launched a disaster relief campaign that raised $172 million in 1992, following two years of record-breaking natural disasters. She also has initiated internal financial accountability and cultural diversity programs.
Born in Salisbury, N.C., Dole graduated with distinction from Duke University in 1958. She earned a law degree from Harvard Law School and also holds a master's degree in education and government from Harvard. Dole headed the White House Office of Consumer Affairs under Presidents Lyndon Johnson and Richard Nixon, and served five years on the Federal Trade Commission. Named secretary of Transportation in 1983, Dole was the first woman to hold that Cabinet post. Under her leadership, the Transportation Department passed a regulation requiring air bags or automatic safety belts in all new cars. Dole urged legislators to raise the drinking age to 21, directed an overhaul of the aviation safety inspection system, and oversaw the sale of CONRAIL.
Dole became secretary of Labor in 1989. As President George Bush's chief adviser on labor and work force issues, she led efforts to resolve the 11-month Pittston Coal strike.
Dole has been named in the Gallup Poll as one of the world's 10 most-admired women. In 1993, Women Executives in State Government honored her with a Lifetime Achievement Award, and she was inducted into the Safety and Health Hall of Fame International. Also that year, the North Carolina Press Association named Dole its first North Carolinian of the Year.