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RIT hopes to host 2004 presidential debate

From Kennedy vs. Nixon to Gore vs. Bush, presidential debates are slices of American history. RIT hopes to be a part of that history by hosting a presidential debate in 2004.

The Commission on Presidential Debates is considering RIT among 13 other potential debate sites. In 2000, three debates were held on university campuses.

“Hosting this event would be a tremendous opportunity to enhance RIT’s national and international visibility,” says Deborah Stendardi, associate vice president for government and community relations. “This would be a huge source of pride for our alumni and members of the RIT community. More than 2,000 journalists would cover the event.”

The commission has specific criteria that a venue must meet to be the host site, including the size of the hall, media area, security and transportation. The Gordon Field House and Activities Center, set to open in the spring of 2004, will be well suited to meet the technological capabilities required by the commission for a debate site. Final sites will be announced in November.

The idea for hosting the debate surfaced in planning RIT’s 175th anniversary, which kicks off with Commencement 2004, and was encouraged by RIT President Albert Simone and Board Chairman Bruce James ’64.