About Hofstra

About Hofstra University

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Founded in 1935

with approximately 800 students and four programs of study, Hofstra has evolved into a world-class private university where nearly 11,000 students choose from hundreds of program options in the liberal arts and sciences, health professions and human services, nursing and physician assistant studies, medicine, honors studies, business, communication, education, engineering and applied science, and law.

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Our 240-acre suburban campus

is a short train ride to New York City, offering easy access to all of the cultural, entertainment and career opportunities of an international metropolis.

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Hofstra strives

to keep its vibrant curriculum offerings responsive to changing societal needs. In recent years, President Stuart Rabinowitz and Hofstra's leadership have focused on expanding the University's program options and expertise in the sciences -- particularly health professions and engineering – as well as in public policy and civic engagement with the 2015 launch of the Peter S. Kalikow School of Government, Public Policy and International Affairs.


The Presidential Debates at Hofstra

Debate 2008 - Obama & McCain & Media Filing Center

Obama/McCain: 2008

On October 15, 2008, then Senator Barack Obama and Senator John McCain debated at the David S. Mack Sports and Exhibition Complex at 9 p.m. Eastern time. The debate, a traditional "podium" debate, was moderated by Bob Schieffer of CBS News. It was during this debate, "Joe the Plumber" was created and the issue of small businesses and tax policy was raised.

Leading up to the debate and the 2008 election, Hofstra hosted the award-winning "Educate '08," an unprecedented series of lectures, conferences, artistic performances and exhibitions, town hall meetings and interactive forums focused on the issues, history and politics of presidential elections. Most programs were free and open to the public. Speakers included former U.S. Treasury Secretaries Paul O'Neill and Robert Rubin; Dr. Shashi Tharoor, former Under-Secretary-General of the United Nations; George Stephanopoulos, former advisor to President Bill Clinton, chief Washington correspondent for ABC News and anchor of ABC's Sunday morning program, This Week with George Stephanopoulos.; former New York Gov. Mario Cuomo and Richard Haass, president of the Council on Foreign Relations; Frank Luntz and Paul Begala; Maureen Dowd and William Kristol; and Mary Matalin and James Carville.

In addition, more than 30 academic courses were offered, dealing with the presidential election, the issues in the campaign, political parties and the voter.

Debate 2012 - Obama & Romnet & Student with Debate Sign

Obama/Romney: 2012

CNN's Candy Crowley moderated this Town Hall-style debate on October 16, 2012. The Gallup Organization selected 82 undecided voters from the New York area to attend the debate. According to the rules set out by the Commission on Presidential Debates and codified in a memorandum of understanding between both candidates, each candidate received two minutes to answer the question, followed by a two-minute rebuttal. This event is remembered for the tense and direct exchanges between the two candidates, as well as the Internet meme "binders full of women."

More than 3,300 journalists from across the U.S. and around the world descended on Long Island and Hofstra University. The pre-debate program series, entitled "Pride, Politics & Policy," included lectures by Christina Romer, Jeb Bush, Chris Matthews, Van Jones, Cornel West, Doug Brinkley, Carl Bernstein and Bob Woodward, Senator Cory Booker and Wolf Blitzer, as well as exhibits, performances, and voter registration drives.

A look at the 2012 debate by the numbers:

  • 200,000 feet of data/voice/television cabling
  • 1,300 phones
  • 14.5 miles of electric power cable
  • 5,000 gift bags
  • 350 student volunteers
  • 10,000 commemorative pins
  • Approximately 750 international visitors (including media)
  • 1,300 Debate 2012 signs
  • 6,576 students entered lottery for a debate seat
  • 35 special academic courses
  • More than 50 related lectures and programs
  • More than 2,500 local K-12 students visiting for Debate-related programs

Debate 2016

Hofstra University will host the first presidential debate on September 26, 2016, the Commission on Presidential Debates (CPD) announced July 19.

"Hofstra University is honored to be called on to host the first presidential debate on Sept. 26, 2016. This is an extraordinary privilege and responsibility," said Hofstra President Stuart Rabinowitz. "We greatly appreciate the faith shown in us by the Commission on Presidential Debates, and we have begun preparations for a very successful debate."

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    Obama/McCain: 2008

    October 15, 2008

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    Obama/Romney: 2012

    October 16, 2012

  • Debate Stage


    September 26, 2016

A History of Presidential Studies

Beginning in 1982 with FDR: The Man, The Myth, The Era: 1882-1945, the conferences have brought together scholars from a wide variety of fields, journalists, former government officials and in some cases the former Presidents themselves to discuss the policies and issues of the various presidencies.

Speakers have included four former presidents (Carter, Ford, George H.W. Bush and Clinton), secretaries of state such as Madeleine Albright, former heads of state such as Mikhail Gorbachev and countless journalists, public servants and scholars.

The two most recent (11th and 12th) presidential conferences are “William Jefferson Clinton: The ‘New Democrat’ from Hope” (November 10-12, 2005) and “Conference on the George W. Bush Presidency” (March 24-26, 2015).

Hofstra's most recent Presidential Conference focused on George W. Bush.

Conference on the George W. Bush Presidency - March 24-26, 2015

A selection of photos from previous Presidential Conferences

The Kalikow Center for the Study of the American Presidency

During the 2005 Clinton conference, the University announced the creation of the Peter S. Kalikow Center for the Study of the American Presidency. Together with Hofstra's conferences on the American presidency, the Peter S. Kalikow Center for the Study of the American Presidency and the Peter S. Kalikow Chair in Presidential Studies make Hofstra one of the very few institutions in the country with a unique focus on the presidency.

Dr. Meena Bose, Kalikow Chair in Presidential Studies, directs the Center's activities, and Ed Rollins, Republican strategist and Howard Dean, former Vermont governor and DNC chair, serve as the Kalikow Center's two Senior Presidential Fellows.

The Center's activities include:

  • George Walker Bush - Presidential Conference
  • Promoting a program of continuing research on important issues relating to the American presidency
  • Holding annual conferences and symposia devoted to analyzing critical issues regarding the American presidency by bringing together, from around the nation and the world, leading scholars, political practitioners, and journalists
  • Sponsoring a lecture series bringing to Hofstra the most distinguished scholars on the American presidency.
  • Offering a Presidential Studies Minor, a multi-disciplinary program designed for students with a keen interest in the U.S. Presidency.

Some of the Center's programming about the 2016 election is available in full:

Sharp focus on public policy and presidential studies

In 2015, Hofstra opened the Kalikow School of Government, Public Policy and International Affairs.

The new school is devoted to training the next generation of public policy leaders and sharpens Hofstra's focus on the American presidency. The school began offering a new interdisciplinary degree in Public Policy and Public Service in fall 2016. Hofstra also is home to the Peter S. Kalikow Center for the Study of the American Presidency and the Peter S. Kalikow Chair in Presidential Studies. The Kalikow Center and chair are founded on a rich tradition of presidential studies at Hofstra, which includes academic conferences on every president, beginning with Franklin Delano Roosevelt in 1982 to George W. Bush in 2015.

Civic engagement and political discourse are part of daily life at Hofstra University, and two Centers work closely with the Kalikow School and Kalikow Center to promote informed discussion of politics and public service. Hofstra's National Center for Suburban Studies is dedicated to promoting the objective, academically rigorous study of suburbia's problems and promise, and publishes regular political polls. The Center for Civic Engagement was formed to encourage students to become active citizens, and hosts annual events such as the Day of Dialogue, the Expressions of Democracy, and Earth Day. The Center also offers a minor in civic engagement.

The Lawrence Herbert School of Communication

A storied history of presidential election and political coverage

Hofstra’s Lawrence Herbert School of Communication has a long history of covering local, regional and national politics. Student journalists from the school’s award-winning student-run radio station, WRHU Radio Hofstra University 88.7 FM, were on site at the Republican and Democratic national conventions in 2008, 2012 and 2016. Working as credentialed media alongside some of the most respected journalists in the world from major media outlets including ABC, CBS, NBC, CNN, Fox News Channel, The New York Times, USA Today and The Wall Street Journal, the students produced long- and short-form reports and interviews, which aired on WRHU and WRHU.org.

Print, radio and TV student journalists will cover political panels and lectures with expert guests and faculty on Hofstra’s campus in the days leading up to the first presidential debate on September 26. On debate day, they will work elbow-to-elbow with their professional counterparts inside the media filing center, as they did when Hofstra hosted presidential debates in 2008 and 2012.

In 2012, Long Island Report, the student-run online news outlet, was cited by Mashable for its creative use of social media covering the presidential debate between President Barack Obama and Gov. Mitt Romney.

And dozens of Herbert School alums, now working as reporters and producers for major news organizations such as ABC, MSNBC, and FOX News Channel, have returned to campus to cover the presidential debates, bringing their training and experience full circle.

WRHU Primary Coverage

National Center for Suburban Studies at Hofstra University®

Studying the Suburban Swing Voter in the Birthplace of the American Suburb

The National Center for Suburban Studies (NCSS) enriches the public understanding of suburban life in the United States and beyond, while promoting new and creative responses to problems and opportunities as they emerge over time.  It focuses its work on projects related to suburban diversitysocial and economic justice, education, sustainabilityhousing, government and politics, recovered histories, and arts and culture. The center conducts original research; facilitates scholarly exchange; provides venues for conversation between scholars and practitioners in the public, private, and non-profit sectors; and applies the insights gained to the solution of suburban problems.

The NCSS has released nine National Suburban Polls since 2008, the first poll of its kind to survey the voting preferences of suburbanites, who represent swing voters who heavily influence many elections.

The Executive Dean of the NCSS is Lawrence Levy. The Academic Director is Dr. Christopher Niedt, an associate professor of sociology.

NCSS Event
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Debate 2016 at Hofstra

The September 26, 2016 Presidential Debate will take place on the campus of Hofstra University in the David S. Mack Sports and Exhibition Complex, site of Presidential Debates in 2008 and 2012. The Mack is home to the Hofstra Pride Men's and Women's Basketball and Wrestling teams.

The Debate Hall will be in the Mack Sports and Exhibition Complex.

The Media Filing Center will be in the Physical Education Building, next door to the Mack.

Hempstead, New York 11549-1000

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