Notre Dame to host first presidential debate in university history

SOUTH BEND, IN - OCTOBER 19: A general view of the "Golden Dome" on the campus of Notre Dame University before the Notre Dame Fighting Irish take on the University of Southern California Trojans at Notre Dame Stadium on October 19, 2013 in South Bend, Indiana. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)

SOUTH BEND, Ind. – The University of Notre Dame will host a U.S. presidential debate for the first time in its storied history.

The Commission on Presidential Debates made the announcement Friday. The Notre Dame event will be the first in a series of debates leading up to the 2020 presidential election. It will take place on Sept. 29, 2020, in the Purcell Pavilion of the Joyce Center.

“The heart of democracy is addressing significant questions in open, reasoned discussion that will inform voters as they prepare to cast their votes,” said University President Rev. John I. Jenkins, C.S.C., also a member of the CPD board of directors. “Standing apart from the glitz and spin of modern campaigns, the presidential debates are that solemn moment in our national life when candidates are invited to discuss seriously the central issues before us.”

The debate will put the university in the national spotlight and is expected to draw thousands of regional, national and international media representatives to South Bend.

Notre Dame has welcomed sitting presidents, vice presidents and presidential hopefuls numerous times for speaking engagements and other events.

The university counts nine presidents among its honorary degree recipients while six have served as commencement speakers. President Dwight Eisenhower was the first president to deliver a commencement speech at the university.

Former presidents Jimmy Carter, Ronald Reagan, George H.W. Bush, George W. Bush, Barack Obama, Franklin Roosevelt, Gerald Ford and John F. Kennedy have all appeared at the university over the years.

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