Thursday, Sept. 8 started as many days have for Jim Lehrer, the longtime host of PBS's flagship "Newshour," with television cameras pointed in his direction. It ended in a slightly more unfamiliar setting, as Lehrer spoke to nearly a thousand freshman Longwood students marking the start of their college career. 

The students had all read Lehrer's memoir, Tension City, which details his time spent behind the moderator's desk at a record 12 general election debates, and engaged in a lively discussion with the iconic journalism on citizenship, democracy, and the role of debates. Longwood will host the 2016 Vice Presidential Debate on Oct. 4.

In between: a visit to a political science class and a lively Convocation address to seniors starting their final year.


Speaking with Dr. Chris McGee’s LSEM class about his book, Tension City, which is the selection for this year’s First Year Reading Experience
Speaking with Dr. Chris McGee’s LSEM class about his book, Tension City, which is the selection for this year’s First Year Reading Experience
Meeting with members of the media covering the debate
Meeting with members of the media covering the debate

“From Oct. 4 on, what happens here on that night will be known forever as the Longwood debate”

"From Oct. 4 on, what happens here on that night will be known forever as the Longwood debate."

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The newest member of the Longwood family, sporting the traditional Convocation cap
The newest member of the Longwood family, sporting the traditional Convocation cap
A lively Q&A session with a packed room of Longwood freshmen.
A lively Q&A session with a packed room of Longwood freshmen.

"What happened to our country ... as a result of 9/11 is STILL happening. It changed and revolutionized our transportation system... and the way we do security, and the way we do military, and the way we do government, and the way we do politics.

Today's campaign for president of the United States—whether it's spoken or unspoken—is being driven by many of the things that were FIRST DRIVEN by what happened 15 years ago [on 9/11]."

Jim Lehrer at Longwood's Convocation
A question about the role of debates in our democracy...
A question about the role of debates in our democracy...
…answered by the man who has moderated the most presidential debates in history.
…answered by the man who has moderated the most presidential debates in history.

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