WUSTL has tradition of giving tickets only to students

Washington University in St. Louis has a rich tradition, dating back to the 1992 presidential debate, of providing debate tickets only to its students. The tradition began when then-Chancellor William H. Danforth decreed that he would prefer to give his ticket to a student rather than attend himself. Since then, hundreds of WUSTL students have been able to witness history first hand through the debate ticket lottery.

2004: ‘Truly amazing’: Student-lottery winners see debate live

On the morning of Oct. 8, 2004 the Commission on Presidential Debates had given the University 105 tickets for students to enter the debate hall — the Athletic Complex’s Field House, where the actual debate was staged.By the time the debate started, 183 students had received lottery tickets to witness the historic event — more than each of the two previous debates hosted by the University.

2000: Lucky lottery winners see candidates debate live

When Washington University made presidential debate tickets available only to students, the response was enthusiastic. Some 6,600, or more than half the University’s current student population, applied for tickets. Those who registered did so with optimism, considering no one knew how many tickets the Commission on Presidential Debates (CPD) would make available. More than 150 lucky students won the lottery for tickets to the Oct. 17 debate.

1996: WUSTL debate cancelled, dashing hopes of students in ticket lottery

All tickets Washington University received for the Sept. 25 presidential debate were to be given to students, but the debate was cancelled at the last minute.

1992: Luck of the draw for debate ticket winners

Allen Mattison, then an undergraduate Arts & Sciences major from Belmont, Mass., was one of fewer than 100 WUSTL students who received tickets to attend the 1992 presidential debate, and one of seven students that year seated on the ground floor of debate hall. “When I went to leave, because of where the exits were, I walked out with Tom Brokaw,” he said. “I remember thinking, ‘God forbid he askme anything about the debate.’ I’m not that political; I’m a psychology and English major.”