With fanfare from the pep band accompanied by cheerleaders and dancers, University of Denver students, faculty, staff and alumni celebrated Presidents’ Day by unveiling the logo for the Oct. 3 presidential debate and cranking up the countdown clock.
Only 226 days until DU hosts the first presidential debate ever in the Rocky Mountain region.
Chancellor Robert Coombe spoke before a bank of television cameras and a crowd that threatened to overflow Sidelines Pub to stress how the coming debate will impact DU.
“We shouldn’t minimize the importance. This is going to be an enormous event,” Coombe said. “Thousands and thousands will come here to campus, but millions upon millions will be watching.”
Coombe said some 200 million television viewers worldwide are expected to focus on the first of three presidential debates, many of them in awe of a democratic process that has ensured a smooth, lawful transfer of power for centuries.
For those lucky enough to be on campus for the debate, Coombe said, “it will be the time of a lifetime.”
Political science Professor Peter Hanson said the placement of the debate for the first time in the Mountain Time Zone shows how political power and values are shifting in the West.
“Colorado used to be a solid Republican state,” he said. “Now, Colorado is up for grabs by both parties.”
He urged students to get involved.
“Campaigns are fueled, they are powered, by people in their 20s,” he said. “Don’t wait until October. Get involved now.”
The newly unveiled red, white and blue logo, designed by DU graphic artist Ross Mansfield, silhouettes the University’s landmark towers and spires against the Rocky Mountains and will be a prominent part of a new website designed just for the event, online at http://debate2012.du.edu. The University has also started a Facebook page and Twitter feed for the debate, with information for the DU campus community, the news media and residents of Denver and Colorado.