Commission on Presidential Debates Elects Reverend John I. Jenkins to Board of Directors

Oct 20, 2011

Frank J. Fahrenkopf, Jr. and Michael D. McCurry, co-chairmen of the Commission on Presidential

Debates (CPD), today announced that the Reverend John I. Jenkins, President of the University of

Notre Dame, has been elected to the CPD’s board of directors. The CPD is the non-partisan, nonprofit

organization that has sponsored and produced all presidential and vice presidential debates

since 1988.

“Father Jenkins is a respected voice in higher education, and we are very pleased he will join the

CPD’s board as we launch plans for the 2012 debates,” Fahrenkopf and McCurry said. “He has

demonstrated, through his words and actions, a serious and sustained commitment to civil

discourse in society, which is consistent with the Commission’s commitment to respectful and

informed political dialogue.

“University leaders have unique links to young voters, who can bring their technological savvy and

energies to next year’s debates. The CPD is committed to building a ‘season of conversation’

through the election year. Students create extended, connected communities that will enhance

the educational value of the debates, particularly through pre- and post-debate discussion of the

issues. We look forward to the benefits of Father Jenkins’ experience in designing opportunities

for sustained, vigorous, and civil conversation.”

Father Jenkins has been a member of the Notre Dame faculty since 1990 and president since

2005. He is a Nebraska native, and holds degrees from Notre Dame, Oxford University and the

Jesuit School of Theology at Berkeley.

In addition to sponsoring and producing the general election debates, the CPD engages in voter

education initiatives, provides technical assistance to sponsors of non-presidential debates, and

has established an International Debates Network to help other countries that seek to make

debates part of their political process. The CPD will announce sites and dates for the 2012

debates later this fall, and will have additional announcements regarding format and Internet-

based programs early next year.

Additional information is available at