By Mike Caputo
Two prominent political figures will square off at Rider, tackling heated topics during a special event touted “The Great Debate.”
The program, which will be held in the Bart Luedeke Center Theater on Thursday, April 19, at 7:30 p.m., places former Chairman of the Democratic National Party Committee (DNC) Terry McAuliffe on one side of the stage with Former Chairman of the Republican National Party Committee (RNC) Ed Gillespie on the other side. Dr. David Rebovich, managing director of the Rider University Institute for New Jersey Politics, acknowledged the importance of the presence of two nationally recognized
political figures at Rider.
“This is a unique opportunity for Rider students to hear political analysis from two of the most important party leaders and commentators in the country,” said Rebovich.
McAuliffe and Gillespie’s appearance at Rider comes from the efforts of Rider Alumnus Mike Hennessy (’82) who is the chairman and CEO of Political World Communications, LLC, which publishes Campaigns & Elections magazine. The event is billed as sponsored by the Rider University Institute for New Jersey Politics, Campaigns & Elections magazine and the Hennessy Fund.
McAuliffe arrives at Rider as the current chairman of the Hillary Clinton for President Committee and author of What a Party! My Life Among Democrats: Presidents, Candidates, Donors, Activists, Alligators and Other Wild Animals, a New York Times and Washington Post best-selling book. As chairman of the DNC, he contributed to the revitalization of the party between 2001-2005 and maintained a debt-free tenure, which was the first time a leader achieved that in the history of the organization.
Gillespie has been touted by political magazines as one of the most successful strategists in the Republican Party. During his tenure as chairman of the RNC, he was credited with guiding the Party to record levels in fundraising and voter registration numbers. He has also authored the book Winning Right, which was released in September 2006.
According to Rebovich, the two debaters will present their views on an array of issues at all levels.
“[McAuliffe and Gillespie] will debate current issues on the national political scene, the upcoming presidential primaries and the importance of young people’s involvement in politics,” Rebovich said.
Invitations to the debate are being sent out to various political leaders and legislators in the region. According to University officials, this debate is expected to be a largely attended and highly covered event in the media. The event is free to all Rider students who present a Bronc ID at the door.
“We are tremendously excited to be able to offer to the University community a program with such high
profile presenters,” said Jonathan Meer, vice president of University Advancement.