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Presidential Visits to DU Campus

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Author(s)

Greg Glasgow

Sr. Writer

Donald Trump has never been to the University of Denver campus, but over the years, the University has been visited a number of times by sitting, future and former U.S. presidents. The most frequent visitor so far has been Bill Clinton, who has been to campus three times.

Here is a timeline of past DU presidential visits.

William Howard Taft
President William Howard Taft

1911: William Howard Taft made the first presidential visit to campus in 1911. Coincidentally, Taft came to DU on Oct. 3—the same date as the upcoming debate. Taft knew Chancellor Henry Buchtel through Republican party politics. Buchtel had served as the governor of Colorado just a few years earlier.

President Dwight D. Eisenhower
President Dwight D. Eisenhower

1950: Three years before he became the nation’s 34th president, Dwight Eisenhower was awarded an honorary doctorate at the Aug. 23 summer Commencement ceremony. Eisenhower spent a lot of time in Denver because it was the hometown of his wife, Mamie. He also knew then-Chancellor Albert Jacobs, who had been provost at Columbia University when Eisenhower was president of that institution.

 

1960: On Feb. 4, then-Sen. John F. Kennedy came to Denver in an appearance sponsored by the DU Social Science Foundation. He did not actually visit campus; his speech, “The Global Challenges We Face,” was delivered downtown at the Denver Auditorium. The Denver Post at the time described Kennedy as “a possible candidate for the 1960 Democratic presidential nomination.”

President John F. Kennedy
President John F. Kennedy

1961: In an event sponsored by the DU Young Republicans League, former vice president and future president Richard Nixon spoke to an audience of 4,000 at the DU Arena on Sept. 13.

1966: President Lyndon Johnson received an honorary degree at the summer Commencement ceremony on Aug. 26 in the DU Arena.

President Lyndon B. Johnson
President Lyndon B. Johnson

1979: Future president Ronald Reagan spoke at the arena-fieldhouse on campus on April 8. Though he was not yet an official candidate, it was widely speculated at the time that Reagan would soon announce his plans to run for the presidency.

President Gerald Ford
President Gerald Ford

1990: President Gerald Ford visits the DU campus to speak about the "Challenge of America's Future."

1997: President Bill Clinton was part of the G8 Summit that met June 21 at the DU-owned Phipps Mansion. The building and its grounds were sold to private buyers in 2010.

2000: President Clinton appeared at Sturm Hall April 12 for a town hall meeting on gun control.

2008: On Jan. 30, a past president and a future president appeared on campus on the same day, both at Magness Arena. Future President Barack Obama made a morning appearance and former president Bill Clinton made an evening campaign stop as part of wife Hillary’s presidential campaign. Denver hosted the Democratic National Convention in August.

President Barack Obama
President Barack Obama

2012: President Barack Obama and Republican candidate Mitt Romney faced off in Magness Arena as DU hosted the first presidential debate of the 2012 election cycle.

Presidential Debate
Presidential Debate