Formal debates have become a staple of most political campaigns, and therefore of the very democracy we treasure.
The McCormack Graduate School has become a leader in this field. We see convening these debates as central to UMass Boston's mission to educate and to pursue and create knowledge - and to do so mindful of the fact that we are a public institution that exists to serve citizens and the public good, illuminating significant public issues and choices.
Over the past three years, we have developed a partnership with The Boston Globe and WBUR, leading news organizations, that is strong and growing. We co-sponsored 10 events this year, including the final debate between the candidates for governor of Massachusetts, televised on Channel 5. I was particularly gratified that many students and faculty were able to attend, and several participated by posing questions to the candidates.
At a time when civic and civil discourse is often compromised, McCormack has demonstrated that tough conversations can happen that are enlightening and respectful of opposing perspectives.
We look forward to more in the future.