Virginia State University to be first HBCU to host presidential debate

Virginia State University has been selected to host one of the 2024 presidential debates, making it the first historically Black college or university in the U.S. to receive that honor.

“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.”

According to a news release, the debate is scheduled for Oct. 1, 2024, in the VSU Multipurpose Center. It will be the second of three official presidential debates in next year’s general election.

The nonpartisan Commission on Presidential Debates said the first presidential debate will begin on Sept. 16 at Texas State University in San Marcos. The final debate will be at the University of Utah in Salt Lake City on Oct. 9.

A 2024 vice presidential debate has also been scheduled for Sept. 25 at Lafayette College in Easton, Pennsylvania.

Eldon Burton, the university’s assistant vice president for government relations, said the historic achievement offers a great opportunity to show why VSU is a leader in higher education.

“We have always been committed to excellence, inclusivity and civic engagement,” Burton said.

“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,” she said, referring to VSU’s mantra “Greater Happens Here.” 

Virginia State University, located near Richmond, Virginia, was founded in 1882 and is one of the oldest HBCUs in the country.

Joshua Barlow

Joshua Barlow is a writer, composer, and producer who has worked for CGTN, Atlantic Public Media, and National Public Radio. He lives in Northeast Washington, D.C., where he pays attention to developments in his neighborhood, economic issues, and social justice.

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