Longwood University is hosting tonight’s Vice-Presidential Debate between Democrat Tim Kaine and Republican Mike Pence.

Advancement Live’s former host Ryan Catherwood, assistant vice president for alumni and career services at Longwood, was at the center of it all throughout the many months of planning and preparation for tonight’s big event. 

As the chair of a sub-committeelongwood-debate-badge-g dedicated to academic and public programs, my role is to work with members and the entire
community to: 1) coordinate “pre-season” events and initiatives leading up to the week of the debate, 2) plan all “pre-game” programming that occurs the week of, and night of, the debate other than the event itself, 3) work with local schools on K-12 programming and curriculum inserts connected to the debate at Longwood, 4) support student-led programming, and 5) connect the debate to curriculum by infusing the event into existing academic themes, coursework and events.

Branding Opportunities and an Insider’s Perspective

Longwood understood that hosting the debates would introduce millions of people to the university. Capitalizing on this unique brand opportunity, Longwood was quick to create a Debate 2016 microsite. It not only features news and events leading up to tonight’s debate, but also shares the Longwood story and their rich American history. And the site is a resource for students and the local community who want to volunteer and participate in the action.

Throughout 2016, Ryan gave us an insider’s perspective and blogged about his unique experience in his Making A Presidential Debate series on Higher Ed Live.

Longwood even took hosting the debate as an opportunity to revise their curriculum. As The Atlantic reported:

Long story short, more than 30 courses were either created or reworked to focus on the debate and, more broadly, the idea of students as citizens-in-the-making.

Tune In Tonight

It’s no secret that this has been a controversial political season making tonight’s Vice Presidential debate more important than ever. You can tune in on any of the major television networks at 9:00 p.m. EDT or watch the debate online. And follow what people are saying on Twitter with #LongwoodDebate.

We want to hear from you.
Did anything surprise you about Ryan’s experience? What would you do if the next presidential debate is hosted at your institution? Do you have questions for Ryan? Leave your comments and questions below.


Article Author

Mallory Willsea

Mallory Willsea

Executive Producer
Director of Marketing and Business Developement, mStoner, Inc.

Mallory Willsea brings more than a decade of marketing, digital, and enrollment marketing experience to Higher Ed Live and mStoner. Mallory serves as the main point of contact for Higher Ed Live sponsors. As head of marketing and sales for mStoner, Mallory develops the firm's marketing strategy and works with potential clients to identify right-fit solutions.


Mallory Willsea

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