Posted on 03 April 2014.
Indiana Wesleyan University named its 11th member of the Society of World Changers, humanitarian Elizabeth Dole. She’ll come to IWU for a fall convocation in her honor, something that may become an annual tradition.
Dole served as the president of the American Red Cross, a United States senator, as well as a cabinet member to two presidents. Most recently, she founded the Elizabeth Dole Foundation in 2012, which provides ways to help caregivers of wounded warriors in the military.
According to Larry Lindsay, special assistant to the president at IWU, Dole is preparing for an April 9 ceremony at the White House to recognize military caregivers through her foundation, so it conflicted with the original April 2 date.
About six or eight weeks before the spring 2014 convocation, Dole’s office called and said she had to reschedule. Lindsay said the university looked for another common date in the spring. IWU and Dole’s foundation couldn’t come to an agreement, so instead, the convocation will happen Oct. 3, 2014.
This date falls during IWU’s homecoming weekend, and Karen Roorbach, senior counsel to President Wright, said this could become a new tradition.
“If that works well, then we may continue that format of doing it in the fall,” Roorbach said.
Roorbach said the World Changer inductee could stay for the Friday evening alumni banquet during homecoming weekend. This way, he or she could speak to both students and alumni. But Roorbach said at this point, Dole has only agreed to speak during chapel.
SGA President Tim Scurlock (jr) said an annual fall convocation would be beneficial to the university, especially in conjunction with homecoming.
“I think moving it to the fall, if they were to do that long term, I think that would fit really well with homecoming week and maybe building a bit more tradition around that week as a whole,” Scurlock said.
Scurlock served as an advisory member to former SGA President Aaron Augello (alumnus ‘13) on the World Changer committee. Scurlock added that out of the world changers now in the society, the university hasn’t selected anyone who’s been involved with public service as much as Dole.
“Her impacts in the political sphere should be noted,” Scurlock said. “Because it’s something really, really hard to do.”
Even though Dole has extensive background in public service, Lindsay said she might not be recognizable among college students.
“I think she is a very highly qualified candidate,” Lindsay said. “The challenge with some of our candidates is that they have that national reputation, but they’re not a household word in terms of 18 to 22 year old students.”
Lindsay also added Dole has been on the “long list” of nominations for world changers for about 10 years. Dr. Jo Anne Lyon, general superintendent of the Wesleyan Church, recommended to former IWU President Henry Smith that Dole should be inducted as World Changer.
Because of this, Lindsay said the university contacted Dole’s office, and she agreed to the nomination pending the World Changer committee’s approval. And they agreed to it in spring 2013 in their meeting after the convocation of David Green.
But for now, IWU students and faculty will have to wait six months to get a glimpse of their next World Changer.