PRESS RELEASE from Saint Mary's College of California

April 01, 2011

Saint Mary's Named One of 12 Colleges Under Consideration to Host Presidential Debate

MORAGA, Calif. ( April 1, 2011) — The Commission on Presidential Debates (CPD) has announced that Saint Mary’s College of California is one of 12 applicants under consideration to host a 2012 general election presidential debate. Saint Mary’s submitted an application to host the debate to commemorate the College’s 150th anniversary during the 2012-13 academic year.

“Saint Mary’s College of California is enthusiastic about the possibility of hosting a 2012 Presidential Debate as a cornerstone event in our Sesquicentennial Celebration,” said Brother President Ronald Gallagher.

Hosting a 2012 presidential debate would continue the tradition of great conversations at Saint Mary's. The College promotes civil and respectful dialogue about the most pressing and controversial concerns we face as a society, such as with the hosting of the September 2010 senatorial debate between Democratic Senator Barbara Boxer and her then Republican challenger Carly Fiorina. Fostering conversations among students and professors about significant issues facing our society is a hallmark of the Saint Mary’s academic experience and is reflected in the College’s Great Books and seminar programs.

To host the debate, Saint Mary’s would utilize the McKeon Pavilion as a debate hall, dedicate academic facilities, offices and green spaces to serve the needs of CPD, and provide state of the art work spaces for an estimated 3,000 media representatives who would cover the event. A video from the College's application to the CPD is available for viewing at

The leadership of Saint Mary’s is confident in the team assigned to the task of coordinating the debate for the College, and the infrastructure to support an undertaking such as a presidential debate already exists at Saint Mary’s. Each May, the College bestows undergraduate degrees to approximately 550 seniors, graduate degrees to around 150 candidates and provides logistical coordination for more than 3,000 visitors during commencement.

The College has received broad public support for a presidential debate, including resolutions of support from many Contra Costa County cities, letters of support from Senators Dianne Feinstein, Barbara Boxer, Congressional Representatives John Garamendi and George Miller, State Senator Mark DeSaulnier, Assemblywomen Susan Bonilla and Nancy Skinner, and 1988 Democratic Presidential candidate Michael Dukakis, among others. The College has also received editorial support from the Bay Area News Group, including the Contra Costa Times and the Oakland Tribune, and the San Francisco Chronicle.

The Commission on Presidential Debates (CPD) was established in 1987 to ensure that debates, as a permanent part of every general election, provide the best possible information to viewers and listeners. Its primary purpose is to sponsor and produce debates for the United States presidential and vice presidential candidates and to undertake research and educational activities relating to the debates.

The list of the higher educations institutions the CPD is considering debate applications from includes Belmont University (Nashville, TN), Centre College (Danville, KY), Dominican University of California (San Rafael, CA), Eastern Kentucky University (Richmond, KY), Hofstra University (Hempstead, NY), Indiana University (Bloomington, IN), Lynn University (Boca Raton, FL), The Richard Stockton College of New Jersey (Pomona, NJ), University of Denver (Denver, CO), Wake Forest University (Winston-Salem, NC) and Washington University in St. Louis (St. Louis, MO).


The Saint Mary’s College of California experience inspires learning that lasts a lifetime. For nearly 150 years, the College has provided students with a rigorous education that engages their intellect and spirit, and awakens a desire to transform society. Guided by the Christian Brothers, the Catholic Church’s oldest order dedicated exclusively to teaching, the College enrolls more than 3,800 students in undergraduate and graduate liberal arts and business programs. For more information visit Saint Mary’s College at and just 23 miles east of San Francisco.

Michael McAlpin
Director of Media Relations