2012 Vice Presidential Debate in Danville, KY
More than 51 million people focused their eyes on Danville on Oct. 11, 2012, as Centre College hosted the internationally televised vice presidential debate between Joe Biden and Paul Ryan. It was the second time Centre College had hosted such a high-profile debate, having hosted the vice presidential debate in 2000.
“We set the standard for hosting a debate in 2000, and since then we have improved our facilities and maintained about 85 percent of the same staff,” says Michael Strysick, director of communications for Centre College. “The Associated Press said our hosting was ‘as close to flawless as humanly possible.’ So many reporters, production crews and tech crews have urged us to host again since they had such a positive experience here.”
The 2012 debate attracted 3,200 credentialed media personnel, 600 of whom were members of the international media representing 40 different countries. Upwards of 150 community volunteers and 400 campus volunteers supported the debate effort.
“Ours was the third-highest viewed VP debate,” Strysick says. “Danville, Boyle County and Kentucky all shined when the international spotlight was cast in our direction as Centre lived up to its name as the center of the political universe.”
Above all, Strysick says, the overwhelming success of the debate showed the world that small places can do very big things.
“Centre remains the smallest college to host a general election debate,” he says, “and Danville is the smallest community.”
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