Campus & Community / Magazine

DU to host first presidential debate of 2012

Chancellor Robert Coombe, right, and Denver Mayor Michael Hancock announced DU's selection by the debate commitee at an Oct. 31 news conference. Photo: Wayne Armstrong

The Commission on Presidential Debates has selected the University of Denver as the host site for the first 2012 U.S. presidential debate. The debate will be held on Oct. 3 in Magness Arena at DU’s Daniel L. 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 this is 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, including then-presidential candidates Barack Obama and John McCain in 2008, former vice-presidential candidate Sarah Palin in 2010 and current presidential candidate Mitt Romney in 2007.

University officials announced the event at an Oct. 31 news conference, which also featured Denver Mayor Michael Hancock, who congratulated DU 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.”

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 said at the news conference.

The University is seeking sponsors to help cover the $1.65 million cost of the debate, Coombe said.

The University is planning a number of educational programs and events that will be held in the months leading up to the debate, inviting students and the larger community to learn about and engage in the political process.

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  1. This is an outstanding honor for the University. Especially being the first debate, the event will generate untold exposure for DU with literally the whole world watching.

  2. I understand that this is a tremendous honor and historic event, but when the university is raising tuition on a yearly basis, and we are already facing a difficult economic time, is an event that costs $1.65 million really in our best interest? One could argue that it would be a great way to involve our community in politics, but no students (nor even members of the general public) are allowed to attend, so one is compelled to wonder: just what IS the benefit?

    • Chelsey Baker-Hauck says:

      You ask a good question. I can tell you that some students will be able to attend, though we don’t yet how many or how those seats will be allocated. We do expect millions of viewers to watch the debate on TV or online, an unprecedented opportunity to raise recognition and reputation for the University.

  3. Looking forward to the debate….Gingrich and Obama would be fantastic..and brutal.

  4. 3PM JULY 15 (Olympic Park) & 16 @ CNN Headquarters (10:15AM) in Atlanta GA. Libertarian Presidential Candidate Gary Johnson’s supporters will be holding a protest outside of CNN’s Atlanta headquarters to demand Johnson be given fair and EQUAL media air-time. He’s polling well and will be on the ballot in all 50 states, BUT he MUST poll higher to be included in the Debates. We are seeking fair media attention to achieve this goal and need people attend the protest.

    Libertarian Presidential Candidate Gary Johnson has a son or daughter who attended DU.

  5. Tracy Jett says:

    This will be “THE” most important Presidential Debate in our lifetime. I hope that DU will not be biasd in any form or fashion. All eyes will be upon you for fairness and balance. Do us proud DU.

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