Longwood will host vice presidential debate in 2016
The eyes of the nation will turn to Longwood University on October 4, 2016, when the college hosts the lone vice presidential debate of the general election.
According to a Longwood press release, the Commission on Presidential Debates announced Longwood’s selection on Wednesday, along with three other sites that will host presidential debates. The vice presidential debate will take place in Willett Hall on Longwood’s central campus.
“I believe that no campus in America could be more fitting for this remarkable and great responsibility in our democratic process,” said Longwood President W. Taylor Reveley IV in a message to the university community. “The energy of this event will run through and invigorate everything we do in preparing the next generation of citizen leaders for the historic years ahead, which the 2016 election will do so much to shape. This is a proud juncture for our great university.”
Recent colleges and universities to host vice presidential debates include Centre College, Washington University in St. Louis, Case Western Reserve University and Georgia Tech.
According to the release, the 2012 vice presidential debate at Centre College in Danville, Ky. attracted 51.4 million viewers nationally and countless more around the world.
Typically, several thousand journalists travel to the debate site to cover the presidential and vice presidential debates.
“Longwood’s selection for the 2016 vice presidential debate is a genuine game-changer for Farmville and the heart of Virginia,” said Farmville Mayor David Whitus, a 1983 Longwood graduate. “It’s a yearlong opportunity to showcase our community and turn a spotlight on our unique, powerful history and vibrant downtown that serves as a true regional hub. We have much to offer and welcome the chance to shine.”
In preparation to host this debate, Longwood received strong support from Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe, the entire Virginia Congressional delegation and the town leadership of Farmville, one of America’s oldest two-college communities.
The non-partisan Commission on Presidential Debates has sponsored and produced every presidential and vice presidential debate since 1988. Information about the 2016 debates and site selection process can be found at www.debates.org.
“There is a common theme to our history: we are a place where leadership has been forged in reconciliation,” Reveley said. “I believe that such a message resonates especially powerfully with the country today. And of course it is also fitting that the third-oldest public university in Virginia should host a debate in 2016 — the ‘Mother of Presidents’ is certain to play a crucial role in determining the outcome of the coming election.”