Hosting the 2016 Vice Presidential Debate wasn’t just an opportunity for unprecedented campus engagement—it was a chance for Longwood to make significant long-term campus improvements, drastically improve its IT infrastructure, create a lasting sense of pride and forge a common future with Farmville.
With a handsome new façade on Willett Hall that was the backdrop for hundreds of news reports and an iconic gateway to Brock Commons used in b-roll and foundational shots, Longwood’s investment in the physical campus will be appreciated for generations.
Information technology improvements—increase in bandwidth and wireless speed, improvements to firewalls and network switches and the replacement of aging infrastructure with state-of-the-art technology—has bolstered Longwood’s capabilities for the next generation of students. Post-debate, Longwood’s network is stronger and safer than before.
An enormous sense of pride flowed through the Longwood family in the buildup and weeks after the debate and has not waned in the months that followed. Alumni philanthropy increased significantly, as did participation in reunion weekend the spring after the debate.
Longwood’s relationship with town officials has reached unprecedented heights, as several infrastructure, communications and outreach projects have bound the entities tightly together. Visitfarmville.com, a tourist website started in conjunction with the debate, has attracted tens of thousands of visitors—evidence of what The Farmville Herald deemed “a rousing success” that will continue to have benefits for years to come.