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Virginia State University Makes History as First HBCU to Host Presidential Debate

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Virginia State University has been chosen to host a 2024 Presidential Debate, the first Historically Black College or University (HBCU) ever selected to hold a General Election U.S. Presidential Debate.

The debate, scheduled for October 1, 2024, is the second of three scheduled by the Commission on Presidential Debates. The debate will provide a platform for the candidates to present their policies, engage in constructive dialogue, and showcase their leadership abilities.

The debate will take place in the VSU Multipurpose Center, a state-of-the-art facility that is equipped to accommodate such a high-profile event. With its advanced audiovisual capabilities and modern amenities, the university believes the Multipurpose Center is an ideal venue.

“We are honored and grateful to have been chosen as a host for a 2024 Presidential Debate,” said VSU President Dr. Makola M. Abdullah. “This is a historic moment for our university and for HBCUs nationwide. Our university mantra is ‘Greater Happens Here,’ and we look forward to welcoming the candidates, the Commission on Presidential Debates, and the entire nation to VSU.”

The selection of VSU as a host for a 2024 Presidential Debate reflects the university’s commitment to shaping future leaders and cultivating political discourse, said school officials.

They added that VSU “welcomes the opportunity to uphold its reputation for advancing social justice and shaping future leaders … the university hopes to leverage this opportunity to reinforce campus conversations, listen and learn about varied viewpoints, and further exhibit why we are a leading institution in higher education.”

“We have always been committed to excellence, inclusivity, and civic engagement,” said Eldon Burton, VSU Assistant Vice President for Government Relations. “This incredible achievement will undoubtedly leave a lasting impact on the campus community, the university’s reputation, and the nation as a whole. Now people will know that not only does ‘Greater Happen at VSU’, but history happens here as well.”

As the date of the debate approaches, VSU will provide more updates. The university eagerly anticipates working closely with the Commission to ensure a successful and smooth event.

Founded in 1882, Virginia State University is a public, historically Black, land-grant university offering academic programs to prepare its more than 5,100 students to be 21st-century innovators and future leaders with the knowledge and insight necessary to change the world.

Virginia State University, Virginia, is located 20 minutes south of Richmond, in southern Chesterfield County, on the Appomattox River overlooking the City of Petersburg. The campus features a 231-acre main campus plus Randolph Farm, a renowned 412-acre agricultural research facility. Virginia State University is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.