As President Roush frequently tells us, “Centre College is a place where important conversations occur” and October 6 was no exception. Roughly 1,000 people packed into the Norton Center to watch Kentucky Attorney General Jack Conway and Louisville businessman Matt Bevin debate the most important and pressing issues facing the state of Kentucky.

The topics of the debate ranged from pensions to coal to common core.

“I am still digesting everything I heard,” sophomore Emma King said following the debate.

Both candidates engaged lively and respectfully with each other, and appeared confident and prepared to answer each question.

This large-scale event, in order to be pulled off successfully, required many willing hands.

“Centre is to be commended—its trustees, alums, faculty, staff, and students—for creating an environment that encouraged both candidates to “step up their game,” share their views, conduct themselves with appropriate decorum,” President Roush wrote in an e-mail to students last week.

President Roush created a special Debate Steering Committee composed of faculty and staff, which met several times throughout the semester. In addition to this committee, staff from ITS, DPS, facilities management, the President’s Office, the Communications Office, and the Norton Center for the Arts all played a significant role in this debate.

“Our previous experience hosting two vice presidential debates (2000 and 2012) and a gubernatorial debate in 2007 likely gave the campaigns confidence that we could organize a first-rate event,” Director of Communications Dr. Michael Strysick said.

He added that “hosting an event like this puts both Centre College and Danville, Kentucky on the map and shows that we are serious about our rights and privileges as citizens and voters.”

“Service and volunteering are part of Centre’s DNA, and hosting a debate offers the opportunity for the College as a whole serve the citizens of the Commonwealth,” Dr. Strysick said.

In addition, the value of the experience itself is priceless. Getting a front-row seat to the raw interaction between candidates banging out their ideas and putting on critical thinking hats in an attempt to evaluate who the most competent would be to hold the highest office in Kentucky are just several of the advantages for those students who attended and watched the debate.

The important conversations that both preceded and followed the debate are effects of the debate and show this event as another effort of Centre to educate the students in a holistic way—one that builds on the College’s mission to enlighten the minds of future leaders.

View staff photographer Justin Anderson’s photos from the debate below.

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