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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