In 2008, Bloomberg News described the University of Delaware as the “epicenter” of the United States presidential race, crediting the involvement of such notable UD alumni as Vice Presidential candidate Joe Biden, McCain campaign senior strategist Steve Schmidt, and Obama campaign manager David Plouffe. Bloomberg reporter Nicholas Johnston wrote, “The academic epicenter of this year's presidential election isn't, as in some years past, Harvard or Yale. It's located between Baltimore and Philadelphia at the University of Delaware.”
In 2003, Ralph Begleiter, founding director of the CPC, first proposed an interdisciplinary academic center for the social sciences at the University of Delaware. It became a reality when the Center for Political Communication opened its doors in January 2010. The intention of the center was to promote research and teaching among social science disciplines; scholarship; and a focus on public and civic engagement. “I had in mind the concept of opening students’ eyes to the connections between what they are studying in a university classroom and what goes on in the real world of politics and media,” said Begleiter.
Delaware Debates “provided a solid foundation for the CPC,” said Karibjanian. Under the eyes of the national and international community, “Delaware Debates earned the CPC and the University of Delaware a stellar reputation.” Ten years later, the CPC continues to be a beacon of political research, teaching, and constructive conversation—hosting programs such as the annual National Agenda speaker series and the biannual Delaware Debates for gubernatorial and congressional candidates.
The 2010 debate helped cement UD as the “epicenter of politics” and the Center for Political Communication still brings the title justice, said Begleiter. “We can look back 10 years later and instantly recognize how valuable the idea of a Center for Political Communication is to the University, and to the public at large. Therefore, I would encourage people to see it as something definitely worth supporting in the future."