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Events

Obama makes historic visit to campus

September 5, 2012
by Kayla Green

When President Barack Obama visited campus on Tuesday, Aug. 28, Chisa Mendoza couldn't get the smile off her face.

The sophomore communication studies major was just one of 13,000 people who witnessed history at CSU when Obama became the first sitting president to visit campus.

Erica Davidge was pretty excited, too.

“It’s not often that everyone gets to see the leader of the United States,” said Davidge, a senior in the Department of Journalism and Technical Communication.

Davidge said she tried to see Obama during his 2008 visit when he was a senator campaigning for the presidency, but had arrived when his speech was ending.  This time, she refused to miss it, and told her professors she would not be in class.

Mendoza, Davidge and others stood in the record 94-degree weather waiting for the event.  Some lined up the night before the gates opened.

“Having President Obama visit our campus, interact with many students and others, and give a speech on the Monfort Quad was both historic and exciting – and although his immediate message was certainly one oriented to the election campaign, the overall encouragement to all of us to get involved and be proactive in our country’s political process was most timely and welcome,” said Provost Rick Miranda. “We have many challenges facing us and an informed and engaged electorate is critical in our democracy – and his visit highlighted that.”

Historic CSU event

(5 images)

President Barack Obama holds a campaign rally at Colorado State University's Monfort Quad.

President Barack Obama holds a campaign rally at Colorado State University's Monfort Quad.

President Barack Obama addresses a crowd of 13,000 people on Colorado State University's campus.

The Colorado State University Marching Band kicks off the entertainment as President Barack Obama holds a campaign rally at Colorado State University's Monfort Quad.

President Barack Obama holds a campaign rally at Colorado State University's Monfort Quad.

The Romney Campaign holds a rally on the Colorado State University Campus Aug. 28.

Colorado State University alumna Jane Norton speaks at a Romney rally on the CSU campus Aug. 28.

 

Obama’s speech focused in part on the importance of higher education funding and its effect on the affordability of higher education, including comments about the Federal Pell Grant Program, a program that provides need-based grants to low-income undergraduate students to provide access to higher education.

The president also spoke about health care, the war in Afghanistan and women’s rights.

Romney rally on campus

Supporters for the Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney also rallied on campus that day. They gathered to build support for the Romney campaign as well as speak with students, faculty, staff and community members.

Both campaigns, recognizing that Larimer County is crucial to winning Colorado in this electoin, urged those in attendance, and especially students, to register to vote. 

Other famous visits

CSU has been host to a variety of other U.S. political speakers since the early 1900s when presidential candidate William Jennings Bryan visited Old Main. Similarly, both Ronald Reagan and Obama visited in 1979 and 2008, respectively, while campaigning for presidency. President Dwight Eisenhower, however, did not visit campus, as is commonly thought, but came close during a visit to Denver.

Former Secretaries of State Condoleezza Rice and Madeleine Albright also visited campus within this past decade as part of the Monfort Lecture Series, a program that features renowned speakers with international distinction.

The College of Business also hosted retired Gen. Colin Powell in 2010.