TXST to Host Presidential Debate in 2024
Texas State University will host one of the four planned national Presidential Debates during the upcoming General Election in 2024.
Early Monday, TXST President Kelly Damphousse sent an announcement to students, faculty and staff stating that he was proud that the university will be the site of one of the key opening moments in the election.
"I am proud to let you know that today the Commission on Presidential Debates announced Texas State University as the site of the September 16, 2024 general election debate in the University Events Center on our San Marcos Campus. TXST is one of four national general election debate sites in 2024," he stated, adding, “We are thrilled for this opportunity to be the first location in Texas to host a presidential debate. It is a fitting tribute to our legacy as the only university in Texas to graduate a U.S. president, Lyndon Baines Johnson. It also comes as we celebrate our 125th anniversary as an institution of higher learning, preparing generations of Bobcats to be engaged global citizens."
He said that this is an opportunity for both Texas State and the city of San Marcos “to shine on the international stage like never before, with hundreds of media outlets descending on our campus before and during the event.”
Damphousse said in light of the announcement that he will be empowering a TXST Debate Planning Task Force that will be set to both guide and “direct the execution of this monumental occasion.”
He said that throughout December, the university will gain a better sense of what its role will be in the upcoming debate, as well as the requirements associated with hosting candidates and media.
"After we return from the holiday break in the new year, we will hold a university-wide forum to let you know what we have learned, our plans for moving forward and how we can work as a community to make this an incredible learning experience for our students while telling the world about TXST,” Damhousse stated.
For students, he noted this will be a “once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to personally engage with the democratic process.” He said that TXST alumnus and former chair of the TSUS Board of Regents Jack Martin of the Class of 1973 has agreed to chair the TXST Presidential Debate Committee which will coordinate fundraising efforts in connection to the debate.
It is likely that the economic windfall the debate will bring to Central Texas will be high both in terms of the international media community that will be coming here but also its impact on hotels and other businesses should be considerable.
In a press release from the university, it stated that the university is part of the Texas State University System, with campuses in San Marcos and Round Rock, which are both situated along one of the nation’s fastest-growing technology and innovation corridors. The university is partnering with the city of San Marcos to host the debate, it stated.
“It’s fitting that the only university in Texas to graduate a U.S. president will be the first university in Texas to host a presidential debate.” said TSUS Chancellor Brian McCall. “This is an exciting time at Texas State, and we can’t wait to showcase our great university before a global audience.”
Founded in 1899, TXST is a national research university on the path to achieving Research 1 Carnegie classification by 2027. TXST’s student body – nearly 39,000 strong – closely mirrors the demographics of the state of Texas. Following President Johnson’s conviction that, “for the individual, education is the path to achievement and fulfillment,” TXST remains committed to serving first-generation students. Approximately 43% of the student body are the first in their families to attend college and TXST is a national leader in strategies and initiatives to enable their success.