Commission on Presidential Debates visits Centre
May 26, 2011 By Leigh Cocanougher
Centre’s campus on May 25 for a “technical tour.” The College is
in the running to host a 2012 general election debate, which
would take place inside the Norton Center for the Arts, above.
Newlin Hall, the 1,500-seat concert hall inside the Norton Center,
is known to have one of the finest acoustical designs in the country.
On Wednesday, May 25, members of the Commission on Presidential Debates visited Centre College’s campus, one of 12 institutions selected as finalists as hosts for a 2012 general election debate. The Commission was on campus for a “technical tour,” learning about the College’s facilities.
Centre has a well-established history as an ideal place for debates to be held. In 2000, the College made history as the smallest institution ever to host a general election debate. The two vice presidential candidates, Joe Lieberman and Dick Cheney, faced one another in the College’s Norton Center for the Arts. The event, dubbed the “Thrill in the ’Ville,” was a tremendous success, being heralded by former CBS news anchor Dan Rather as “the best vice presidential debate ever held.” After the 2000 debate concluded, Janet Brown, executive director of the Commission on Presidential Debates, said that “Centre has set the standard by which future debates will be judged.”
In 2008, Centre was selected as an alternate site for the president debate. (The Commission decided that all host sites for the 2008 presidential debates were to be new, so no sites that had previously hosted a general election debate were ultimately in the running to be chosen for that election’s presidential debate.)
While Centre has proven itself as a remarkable host for debates, the College is now more than ever the ideal venue for such an event. Newlin Hall, the newly renovated and refurbished 1,500-seat concert hall inside the College’s Norton Center for the Arts, is known to have one of the finest acoustical designs in the country. The campus has also recently undergone several other major transformations, including the construction of a two-story, 50,000 square foot Campus Center, a 40,000 square foot expansion of Young Hall, a classroom and lab facility, the construction of a new residence hall and more.