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DU to host Colorado’s first-ever presidential debate

Denver Mayor Michael Hancock congratulated DU Chancellor Robert Coombe and the rest of the DU community after the University was chosen to host the first presidential debate of the 2012 election. Photo: Wayne Armstrong

The University of Denver announced today that the Commission on Presidential Debates has selected the University as the host site for a 2012 U.S. presidential debate. The debate will be held on Oct. 3 in Magness Arena at DU’s Ritchie Center for Sports and Wellness.

“The University of Denver is excited for this opportunity to partner with the Commission on Presidential Debates to bring this historic event to our campus, our city and our state,” says DU Chancellor Robert Coombe. “Debates are an important part of our nation’s election process, and, as the first-ever presidential debate to be hosted in Colorado, the national and international spotlight will be on the University of Denver and the entire Rocky Mountain region.”

DU has hosted many prominent events and speakers over the years, such as then-presidential candidates Barack Obama and John McCain in 2008, former vice-presidential candidate Sarah Palin in 2010, current presidential candidate Mitt Romney in 2007, and several Nobel laureates including the Dalai Lama, Desmond Tutu and Shirin Ebadi.

University officials announced the event at an Oct. 31 press conference, which also featured Denver Mayor Michael Hancock.

“I came today to congratulate the University of Denver and to say to the University of Denver and all the folks who are interested, congratulations on behalf of the city, we will do whatever we can to help you pull off a very successful presidential debate here,” Hancock said. “We know you’re ready to do it but you have a partner in the city of Denver. We are awfully proud of you and we will as a city, stand with you to showcase our great city to the rest of the world. So congratulations, Chancellor, to you and your team, and go DU Pioneers.”

Coombe says DU was one of 12 universities around the country vying for a chance to host one of four nationally televised debates that will occur just before the November 2012 general election. This is the first time the University has applied for host consideration.

“With today’s announcement, DU will focus its attention on building a world-class event that will engage our campus and community in educational opportunities that will last long after the debate and election have passed,” Coombe says.

The University is planning a number of educational programs and events that will be held throughout the year leading up to the debate. Hosting the presidential debate will provide opportunities for students and the community to learn about and engage in the political process.

DU’s event will be the first of four debates in the 2012 election. Hofstra University in Hempstead, N.Y., Centre College in Danville, Ky., and Lynn University in Boca Raton, Fla., also have been selected to host debates.

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