BOCA RATON (CBS4) – Millions of people will be watching debate between President Barack Obama and Governor Mitt Romney on television Monday night.
A select group of lucky Lynn University students, however, will get to watch history unfold live in their debate hall.
Of the 756 students who entered the lottery for a ticket, only about 100 will be in the audience for the third and final presidential debate. The topic is foreign policy.
Graduate student Bernard Hollnbuchna is one of about 2,100 Lynn students that represent 87 countries. He is from Austria, but is thrilled to be part of this moment in American history.
“It’s very exciting. I’m usually not one of the guys who wins something,” Hollnbuchna said. “So that’s really great, you know and such a big event. It’s unbelievable.”
Hollnbuchna was the first student to get a ticket at the drawing Sunday afternoon, but he wasn’t the first name called. The first two names drawn were no-shows. Students had to be present to win.
“I’m shocked that I actually got the chance to go because I wasn’t expecting it whatsoever,” said Marquis Caesar. “I was just thinking I would come to cheer on everybody else. But it’s amazing to actually have gotten this. My mom’s going to be really proud.”
In a sea of teens and twenty-somethings stood Jack Slotnick, a war veteran and Purple Heart recipient who’s currently a graduate student at Lynn.
“At my age, this might be my last debate,” Slotnick said. “I’m turning 87 in four weeks and I really would like to witness this up close.”
Slotnick will get his wish thanks to the generosity of Lynn University President Dr. Kevin Ross, who gave up his ticket so a man more than twice his age could attend.
“He’s a big part of our community. He’s not just a student. People think of him as a family member,” Dr. Ross explained to CBS 4’s Lauren Pastrana. “He expressed to me a long time ago. He said, ‘I’m buying a new suit.’ And I just put it in the back of my head and I said ‘Jack should be in there’.”
The two men shared a hug after the announcement.
“This is really exciting because I did not expect this. Truthfully,” Slotnick said.
While Slotnick said he may not live to experience many more elections, he has a message for young people who still have a lifetime of voting ahead.
“Freedom doesn’t come at an easy price. And not to vote, I think it’s sacrilegious,” said Slotnick.
The students whose names were not drawn are invited to attend a debate watch party on campus at the soccer fields on Monday night. There will be food trucks and large projection screens. The event is only open to students, faculty, staff and special guests.