Boca Raton, FL — Little-known Lynn University is preparing for the final presidential debate, a moment that the small college has been preparing for for the last year.
The University has a student population of just 2,100, with 181 faculty members, reports the Tampa Bay Times.
But the small-time college will be thrust into the international spotlight on Monday night, when all of the major news networks descend upon the school to watch the final showdown between President Barack Obama and Republican challenger Mitt Romney.
Lynn University President Kevin Ross, 40, who took over the school from his father in 2006, stated:
“Most people have never heard about the school so they think not much is going on there. We are a small school, but we have a big impact.”
The school is a blend of students with learning disabilities, elite musicians enjoying full scholarships, national tennis champions, and students from 87 countries around the world.
The international quality of the school, in Ross’s opinion, makes it the perfect place to host a presidential debate focused on foreign policy.
Along with the international attention, school officials are going through a lengthy checklist in preparation for Monday night’s big event, notes ABC News. Among the items on the list are the humidity in the hall, hotel accommodations, and the size of the candidates’ dressing rooms.
Along with millions of dollars in investment, schools must adhere to a lengthy, tedious checklist. Officials spoke about Lynn University, saying that what set them apart from the rest when looking for a presidential debate venue wasn’t their name recognition, but rather their willingness to transform their campus life to pull off the massive event.
The university has invested around $5 million to upgrade their facilities in preparation for the arrival of President Obama and Mitt Romney on Monday. They have built new entrances to campus, and have also upgraded their computer network.
To accommodate the massive event, they have displaced sports teams, delayed performances, and flooded their faculty and staff members with added responsibilities. But instead of complaints, the majority of people on campus appear to relish the changes, as well as the opportunity to host such an event.
Lynn University has added dozens of classes inspired by the presidential debate, developed a debate curriculum that is being used by students around the country from kindergarten through high school, and has also hosted more election-themed events than the school’s administrators can count.
Everything at the school has been affected by the upcoming debate event, from freshman reading material (first debate moderator Jim Lehrer’s Tension City) to the admissions office’s marketing campaign (What the World is Coming To). Peter Eyre, a senior adviser to the Commission on Presidential Debates, stated:
“One of the things we found most appealing about Lynn University is its willingness to just dive in. They have embraced this whole notion that the debate is a larger commitment to education.”
In order to be considered for a sport as a debate host, schools are required to submit massive proposals that detail how they can adhere to countless criteria, from the hall’s humidity (not over 50 percent) to the number of hotel rooms nearby (3,000 minimum), along with the size of the candidates’ dressing rooms (at least 750 square feet).
Guidelines for the schools dictate everything that they will need to do, from the precise dimensions of the debate stage, the carpeting on the floor, and the number of parking spots available. NPR reports that, when submitting their proposal to be a debate host, Lynn University’s President Ross recalled:
“We cast our horseshoe and we thought, ‘Let’s see.’ Then when it came to pass, we were thrilled that not only did we land a debate, we landed a presidential debate, and the final debate.”
There is also almost a guarantee that by hosting the presidential debate, Lynn University will see an increase in enrollment. Mike McCurry, co-chair of the Commission on Presidential Debates, stated that the university can expect a solid return on the investment they have made for the final debate. McCurry stated:
“Washington University in St. Louis, by hosting three debates, they’ve become a national brand now. This certainly boosted their enrollment, their interest, their applications and even helped them attract faculty members. I think that Lynn will expect to see that kind of prominence.”
Will you be watching the final presidential debate on Monday night at Lynn University in Boca Raton, Florida?