Longwood University gears up for next Tuesday’s Vice Presidential debate. 

Lancaster Hall, Longwood University. 

Photo courtesy of Longwood University 

The Secret Service arrived in Farmville yesterday for the event that Longwood University has been preparing for since last September: the lone 2016 vice presidential debate.

Last year, the Commission on Presidential Debates announced that the 176-year-old public University had won the bid to host the sole debate between vice presidential candidates Tim Kaine and Mike Pence. Longwood is just the third Virginia college to ever host a vice presidential or presidential debate: In 1976 the College of William & Mary hosted the debate between President Gerald Ford and Democrat Jimmy Carter, and in 1992 the University of Richmond was the site for the debate between President George H.W. Bush and Arkansas Gov. Bill Clinton.  

“I believe that no campus in America could be more fitting for this remarkable and great responsibility in our democratic process,” said President W. Taylor Reveley IV in a message to the Longwood community after the announcement was made last fall. “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.”

Each academic department received funding to host an event around the debate, and more than 30 classes offered this semester have incorporated the debate into the curriculum. Friday, Sept. 30 kicks off Debate Week, a series of events (some free and open to the public, some just for Longwood students and faculty) leading up to the big show Tuesday evening.

The following events are free and open to the public:

2016 Student Citizenship Summit

Jarman Auditorium

Friday, Sept. 30 at 9:45 a.m.  

Secondary school students from the area are invited for educational activities and discussions related to civics education and the history of the democratic process in America.

Welcome Concert for Students and Volunteers featuring MKTO 

Stubbs Mall

Sunday, Oct. 2 at 8 p.m.

Pop group MKTO will perform and kick off the festivities.  

VP Jubilee

Stubbs Mall

Monday, Oct. 3 through 7 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 4 starting at 12 p.m.

Visitors are invited to check out debate-related booths, musical performances and activities right next to the debate venue.

En-light(e)ning Talk

Lancaster Mall

Monday, Oct. 3 and Tuesday, Oct. 4 at 1 p.m.

Longwood faculty will hold a TED-style non-partisan talk on topics related to the debate and election season.

Civil Rights Walking Tour  

Robert Russa Moton Museum

Tuesday, Oct. 4 at 10 a.m.

Longwood professor Larissa Smith Fergeson will guide a walking tour exploring the civil rights history of Farmville and Prince Edward County.

The Increasing Power of the Vice Presidency - A View from the Inner Circle 

Martinelli Room, Maugans Alumni Center

Tuesday, Oct. 4 at 4 p.m.

In collaboration with UVA’s Miller Center, Longwood will present a panel discussion on the role of the vice president and how it has evolved in recent administrations. Panelists will include a former vice president’s chief of staff, a U.S. ambassador to Turkey and Finland and a former vice president’s chief economic advisor. A journalist from Politico will moderate.

The debate itself begins at 9 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 4, and will be broadcast on C-SPAN, ABC, CBS, FOX and NBC, plus cable news channels like CNN, MSNBC and Fox News. All major news networks, YouTube and Twitter will also stream the debate online for free. 
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