As the eyes of the world turn to the 2016 U.S. presidential election, Washington University in St. Louis will play a prominent role in the national political conversation when it hosts a presidential debate on Sunday, Oct. 9, 2016. The schedule of four debates — three presidential and one vice presidential — was announced today by Frank J. Fahrenkopf Jr. and Michael D. McCurry, co-chairmen of the Commission on Presidential Debates (CPD).
“We are honored to once again be selected as host of a presidential debate,” Chancellor Mark S. Wrighton said. “The Commission on Presidential Debates’ selection of Washington University is a reflection not only on our dynamic and engaged university community, but also on the importance of the St. Louis region, particularly at this moment in time.
“We know that having a presidential debate on our campus will be a memorable experience for our students and other members of the university community as they become involved in the planning and educational programming around this national event,” Wrighton said.
“It will also be a great opportunity to highlight the St. Louis region, as people around the globe are watching the nation’s electoral process in action.”
“Washington University in St Louis is most generous to, once again, host a debate,” said Janet Brown, executive director of the CPD.
With today’s announcement, Washington University has earned the distinction of hosting more debates than any other institution in history. This is the sixth time the university has been selected by the CPD to host a debate since 1992, and it will be the fifth debate to be held at the university. The presidential debate scheduled at the university in 1996 was canceled just two weeks prior.
The 2016 debate will be held in Washington University’s Athletics Complex, the same venue as its previous debates. The university will also make available to the CPD the Gary M. Sumers Recreation Center, a 60,000-square-foot addition to the Athletics Complex that is set to open in August 2016.
All tickets to attend the debate will be assigned by the CPD. As was done in the previous debates at Washington University, any debate tickets that may be assigned to Washington University will be distributed only to full-time students, who will be selected in a university-wide lottery, Wrighton said.
Students also will have the opportunity to volunteer to become involved with the debate as well as take part in the political conversations that surround such an event.
A nonpartisan, nonprofit organization established in 1987, the CPD is responsible for selecting the venues and producing the presidential debates. Washington University was among 16 sites that submitted applications to host a 2016 general election debate.