Recalling Drexel’s Ties to the 2008 Presidential Election

A banner announcing the debate hung on Drexel's campus.
A banner announcing the debate hung on Drexel's campus.

This article is part of the DrexelNow “Faces of Drexel” series honoring Drexel’s history as part of the Universitywide celebration of the 125th anniversary of Drexel’s founding in 1891.

During the 2016 presidential election, Drexel hosted Vice President Joe Biden on campus in the Main Building the morning after the first presidential debate. Two presidential election cycles ago, Drexel was also involved in the election: the University hosted the Democratic presidential candidates for a nationally televised debate on Oct. 30, 2007. Future U.S. President Barack Obama and future Vice President Joe Biden came to campus to participate in the debate, as did future 2016 Democratic presidential candidate Secretary Hillary Clinton.

“Drexel University is pleased and honored to host a presidential candidates debate,” said then-Drexel President Constantine Papadakis. “This event is the perfect expression of Drexel’s mission of education, public service and civic engagement.”

The debate was held in the Main Building Auditorium. News anchors Brian Williams and Tim Russert moderated the two-hour event, which was seen by 2.5 million people. “NBC Nightly News” and MSNBC’s “Hardball with Chris Matthews” broadcasted live from Drexel’s campus.

“Philadelphia, the cradle of American democracy, where the founding fathers gathered to declare our nation’s independence and to ring out that news on the Liberty Bell, still proudly displayed here,” Williams announced at the beginning of the debate’s programming. “Tonight … Drexel continues Philadelphia’s proud political tradition, playing host to the Democratic candidates for president.”

In honor of the 2016 presidential election and the 2008 election that introduced the future American President and Vice President, DrexelNow shares some exclusive and behind-the-scenes photographs from the event.