President Shalala is first woman to receive Dole Leadership Prize

University of Miami President Donna E. Shalala accepted the 2009 Dole Leadership Prize last Monday, making her the first woman to receive the prestigious national award.

Before becoming the university’s fifth president in 2001, Shalala served as the U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services in the Clinton administration.

In 2007 she served alongside Bob Dole, for whom the prize is named, as co-chair of the President’s Commission on Care for America’s Returning Wounded Warriors, which dealt with the growing concern over the care of American soldiers returning from war.

The next year, President George W. Bush awarded her with the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation’s highest civilian honor.

The Dole Leadership Prize is presented annually at the University of Kansas’ Lied Center and recognizes those who have honorably served our democracy and inspired others.

“Donna Shalala is a public servant in the truest sense of the phrase,” Bill Lacy, director of the KU’s Dole Institute of Politics, said in a UM news release announcing the award. “Her exemplary leadership in multiple government roles makes her truly deserving of the seventh Dole Leadership Prize.”

Past winners of the award include former New York Mayor Rudolph Giuliani, former U.S. Senator Howard Baker and former President George H. W. Bush.

“It is a great honor, particularly since it reflects my work with veterans who have been injured,” Shalala said.