As the Capital of the Iowa caucuses, Drake University welcomed more than two dozen political events to our campus between February 2015 and February 2016. Events ranged from a small candidate Q&A session to a nationally televised debate watched by millions. With each event, Drake strived to maximize student opportunity, fulfill the University’s core responsibility to promote civil dialogue, and serve as a hub for civic and political engagement.

February 20, 2015

Bernie Sanders speaks in Sussman Theatre

Not yet candidate for president Bernie Sanders delivers a lecture in Sussman Theater, located in Drake’s Olmsted Center, to a crowd of mainly Drake students.


June 12, 2015

Bernie Sanders returns to Drake

17 days after officially declaring his candidacy, Senator Sanders returns to Drake, this time speaking to nearly 800 people in Sheslow Auditorium.


June 27, 2015

Ted Cruz speaks in Sheslow Auditorium

Senator Ted Cruz becomes the second presidential candidate to visit Drake, speaking to a crowd of hundreds in Sheslow Auditorium.


September 16, 2015

CNN broadcasts focus group from Cowles Library

A dozen Drake students assist CNN Supervising Producer Glen Dacy, a 1984 Drake alum, broadcast a focus group of Iowa Republicans live to an audience of millions following the GOP debate at the Regan Library. A Drake student is included in the focus group, hosted by CNN Anchor and Correspondent Randi Kaye.


September 21, 2015

Rick Santorum speaks in Kern Commons

Former Senator Rick Santorum makes a campaign stop at an event hosted by the Drake Law Republicans. It is common for presidential candidates to visit campus at the invitation of student groups.


October 14, 2015

Rand Paul speaks on Pomerantz Stage

Senator Rand Paul concludes his Iowa 10,000 College Tour at Drake, taking pictures with every student who so desired after his remarks.


October 26, 2015


November 10, 2015

NPR’s Michel Martin broadcasts live from Sussman Theater

In collaboration with Drake’s School of Journalism and Mass Communication, NPR’s Michel Martin broadcasts her series, “Going There,” from campus. The show, “A Look at Voting Myths and Facts about the ‘Hashtag Generation,’” features a panel including a Drake professor, student, and alumnus


November 12, 2015

Digital Democracy: The Yahoo Conference on Technology & Politics

The Olmsted Center hosts the Yahoo News Digital Democracy conference, streaming live worldwide and featured on Yahoo homepage. The conference features major national reporters and guests, including David Pogue, Olivier Knox, Senator Rand Paul, and “Orange is the New Black” star Diane Guerrero. Drake students work for Yahoo to prepare the conference.

Jack Dorsey, Twitter’s founder, tweets Drake University


November 14, 2015

CBS broadcasts the Democratic National Committee debate from Sheslow Auditorium

The first of three multi-candidate events hosted at Drake during this presidential election cycle, CBS broadcasts the only Democratic debate in Iowa live to 8.6 million viewers from Sheslow Auditorium in an event co-sponsored by Twitter. More than 600 credentialed media cover the event, representing outlets around the world. Throughout the week a number of Drake students work for CBS to ensure the event goes smoothly. And let’s not forget that Drake’s live mascot Griff declared his candidacy for president, forever enshrined in a Twitter Moment.

View our more image on flickr album.

Drake’s Facebook posts reach more than 510,000 people during debate week.

#VoteGriff trends on Twitter in Washington, D.C.


November 15, 2015

Griff, the Drake University live mascot, makes Twitter Moments

Did this dog win the debate?


November 16, 2015

The Daily Show makes their own “University of Drake” seal


December 7, 2015

Charlie Cook gives his take on the election in Sussman Theater

Drake’s Harkin Institute for Public Policy and Citizen Engagement brings famed political reporter Charlie Cook to campus to provide insight on the Iowa caucuses and the presidential race at large.


January 11, 2016

Fusion broadcasts the Democratic Brown and Black Forum from Sheslow Auditorium

Fusion teams up with Des Moines-based Urban Dreams to broadcast and stream the Brown and Black Forum, the nation’s oldest minority-focused presidential forum, live from Drake. Drake students not only attend the event, but some sit on stage and ask questions of the three Democratic candidates.


January 22, 2016

Vote America Now and BET host Dr. Ben Carson on Pomerantz Stage

Chris Prudhome of the voter education group Vote America Now interviews Dr. Ben Carson and rapper Dee-1 for a live broadcast on BET from Pomerantz Stage.


January 25, 2016

CNN Democratic Presidential Candidate Town Hall in Sheslow Auditorium

For the third time this presidential election cycle, the three remaining Democratic candidates take the stage in Sheslow Auditorium for a live national broadcast. Multiple Drake students ask questions of the candidates and sit on stage throughout the broadcast. More than a dozen Drake students are employed by CNN to assist in many aspects of production. CNN broadcasts many hours of content live on CNN from multiple campus locations throughout the week.


January 27, 2016

Students hold “What’s a Caucus” event in Shivers Courtside Club

Dozens of journalists along with candidate surrogates ranging from Jeb Bush Jr. to Ben and Jerry (yes, that Ben and Jerry) join hundreds of students learning to caucus at an event organized by Drake Student Senate, Drake College Republicans, and Drake Democrats. Highlights from the event are broadcast on more than 50 local news stations, CNN, CNN International, and Al-Jazeera, among others.


January 28, 2016

Rand Paul returns to Pomerantz Stage

Rand Paul makes his third trip to the Olmsted Center where he takes his message to Drake students on Pomerantz stage just days before the Iowa caucuses. The event is broadcast live on C-SPAN.

Donald Trump raises money for veterans at Drake

While the rest of the Republicans running for president debate downtown, Donald Trump controversially decides to host an event a Drake to raise money for veterans. The event draws dozens of reporters, eight satellite trucks, and protestors. The event is broadcast live on multiple channels and covered on more than 50 front pages across the country the following morning.


February 2, 2016

PBS NewsHour at Drake

Judy Woodruff sets up shop outside Meredith Hall for four days, broadcasting her portion of NewsHour live from Drake.

Jake Tapper interviews Sarah Palin at Drake

The Alumni House serves as the backdrop for Jake Tapper’s interview of former Alaska governor Sarah Palin on the morning of the Iowa caucuses.

Chris Christie event in Kern Commons

Later on in the morning of the Iowa caucuses, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie makes his final push for the presidency in Cartwright Hall’s Kern Commons.

Five precinct caucuses take place in Olin Hall

Drake’s Olin Hall is the caucus site for four Republican and one Democratic precinct. Former Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley makes his case in person to hundreds of Drake Democrats in front of dozens of international media.

Hillary Clinton celebrates in Parents Hall

Secretary Hillary Clinton hosts her “Victory Party” in Parents Hall in the Olmsted Center where attendees include President Bill Clinton, Chelsea Clinton, Former Senator Tom Harkin, civil rights hero and Congressman John Lewis, and hundreds of Drake students.