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University of Utah to host 2024 Presidential Debate

The University of Utah has been selected by the Commission on Presidential Debates as a presidential debate host site for the 2024 election cycle.

University of Utah President Taylor Randall announced the U has been selected by the Commission on Presidential Debates as a presidential debate host site for the 2024 election cycle.

On Wednesday, Oct. 9, 2024, qualifying candidates for president of the United States will take center stage at Kingsbury Hall for a moderated debate to be broadcast on all major television networks.

“To have the opportunity to host a U.S. presidential debate is a privilege, and we are thrilled to welcome the world back to the University of Utah,” said Taylor Randall, president of the University of Utah. “Being chosen as a debate site by the Commission on Presidential Debates is a testament to the tremendous capacity of our university and we cannot wait for our students, campus and city to play a role in this historic civic event.”

The Commission on Presidential Debates is the nonprofit and nonpartisan organization that has sponsored these debates every four years since 1988. The general election debates include three presidential debates and one vice presidential debate—all broadcast internationally.

“The Hinckley Institute of Politics is dedicated to providing University of Utah students with transformative experiences,” said Jason Perry, institute director and vice president for government relations. “Civic engagement and involvement in the political process is particularly critical for college-age students. We know early engagement leads to lifetime participation– which all of our communities and the nation needs. We are honored to provide our students with a front-row seat to national politics in 2024.”

Debate schedule:

  1. Monday, Sept. 16, 2024 | Presidential Debate | Texas State University, San Marcos, TX
  2. Wednesday, Sept. 25, 2024 | Vice Presidential Debate | Lafayette College, Easton, PA
  3. Tuesday, Oct. 1, 2024 | Presidential Debate | Virginia State University, Petersburg VA
  4. Wednesday, Oct. 9, 2024 | Presidential Debate | University of Utah, Salt Lake City, UT

No student tuition or student fees will be used to fund the event. The university will work with its community partners to pay for the debate through a combination of public and private donations. In 2019, ahead of the 2020 debate, Utah’s legislature supported the debate by allocating $2.5 million to support the state’s application.

No state funds have been allocated for the 2024 debate at the time of publishing, but university leaders may seek funding support during the upcoming 2024 Legislature.

In the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, with hundreds of dedicated staff members and nearly 300 student volunteers, the U successfully hosted the vice presidential debate between then-Vice President Mike Pence and Democratic vice presidential candidate Kamala Harris. Nearly 300 members of local, state, national and international press filed their stories from a 14,000-square-foot media filing center tent erected on Presidents Circle. Read more about the 2020 debate here.

U President Taylor Randall, SLC Mayor Erin Mendenhall, Utah Gov. Spencer Cox, Senate President J. Stuart Adams, House Majority Leader Jefferson Moss and Hinckley Institute Director Jason Perry, flash the U after a press conference at Kingsbury Hall.

“Ours is a state on the rise and I’m certain that Utahns will once again exemplify our hospitality and professionalism on both a national and international stage,” said Utah Gov. Spencer Cox. “Our successful hosting of the 2002 Olympic Winter Games and previous site of a vice presidential debate shows Utah is ready for this distinct honor.”

City and state leaders have shown their support for this, the second debate in as many election cycles, to be hosted in Salt Lake City, Utah. Senate President J. Stuart Adams, House Speaker Mike Schultz and Salt Lake City Mayor Erin Mendenhall have supported the university’s bid from the start.

“We are excited to host this monumental event during this pinnacle moment in our nation,” said Adams. “In Utah, we emphasize collaboration with innovation to find the best solutions and hope to be an example of what working together can achieve. I’m positive this presidential debate will spark curiosity while providing solutions to critical issues, helping our nation move forward in peace, unity and prosperity.”

Added Schultz: “Once again, Utah stands ready to shine on the global stage, showcasing not only our citizens but also our values and the remarkable Utah lifestyle. Utah’s hospitality, and beauty makes the perfect backdrop for a presidential debate. We are thrilled to have this opportunity and are committed to making sure it’s a booming success.”

“It will be an honor and a privilege to welcome the presidential candidates to Salt Lake City for a debate about the most important issues affecting our country,” Mendenhall said. “We have a proven track record for successfully hosting events on a global scale, as evident by the success of the 2020 vice presidential debate at the University of Utah that was viewed by millions of people. We will be ready once again to provide a welcoming environment for the candidates, the audience and viewers around the world.”

Additional details about the 2024 debates, including debate format and moderators, will be announced by the Commission in 2024.

Watch the full press conference.