BOCA RATON (CBS4) – After two years of planning and preparation, the third and final presidential candidate debate is less than two days away.
For Lynn University President Dr. Kevin Ross the last two years make up just a small fraction of his history with the school which is celebrating its 50th anniversary.
“Growing up in a place like this is pretty special,” Dr. Ross said Saturday after a walk-through of the debate hall where crews where putting the finishing touches on the stage.
His father, Dr. Donald E. Ross, was president of the school for 35 years. The younger Ross took over in 2006 at the age of 33. A little more than six years later, he’s preparing the campus for its introduction to the world.
“I’m 40 and the institutions 50 this year so it’s sort of like an older brother that used to beat up on me a lot,” Dr. Ross joked to CBS 4’s Lauren Pastrana. “It’s a great place. It’s a special place. It’s a wonderful community.”
Roughly 2,100 students are enrolled at Lynn University from 87 countries.
“It’s one of the smaller campuses we’ve been to,” Peter Eyre with the Commission on Presidential Debates said. “So in those cases, what we want is an understanding from the team that they see how important these debates are and how much work it will be. And from day one, Lynn has delivered.”
The format calls for six 15-minute segments. Each candidate will have two minutes to respond to moderator Bob Schieffer’s questions.
For the students at Lynn University, it’s been a thrilling learning opportunity.
“It’s just a mixture of emotions,” freshman Chandra Lugo said. “Excitement, it’s an adrenaline rush. We don’t even know how to describe it.”
Most students won’t step foot in the debate hall Monday night, but they say Dr. Ross has made everyone feel like part of this historic process.
“He even said himself that he’d be willing to give his ticket to the debate to a student,” student Jocelyn Grayson said.
“Higher education institutions are amazing places with lots of creativity and potential,” Dr. Ross said. “To be able to land a small, young school like Lynn as a foreign policy topic and actually has a foreign student body from 87 countries, it’s a pretty special thing for us in our 50th.”
Of the 35-hundred credentialed media, 700 are from other countries.
According to the Commission on Presidential Debates’ website, the topics Monday night will include America’s role in the world, Afghanistan and Pakistan, Israel and Iran, the Changing Middle East and the New Face of Terrorism, and the Rise of China and Tomorrow’s World.