Columbia Grad School of Journalism Covers 2008 Service Nation Summit

Photo Credit - Joseph C. Lin Photo Credit - Alexandra Cheney

Welcome to Columbia Graduate School of Journalism's coverage of the 9/11/08 Obama-McCain Presidential Candidate's Forum on the Columbia University Campus.

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Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Candidates and Columbia Confirmed

Just under two months ago, organizers spearheading this Thursday's ServiceNation Presidential Forum were missing two major components of their event: both a venue and the presidential hopefuls. Now the two senators vying for the White House are days away from appearing on the same platform at Columbia University to recognize national service.

Republican nominee John McCain agreed to attend in July after an invitation from event sponsor Time magazine. Barack Obama, the Democratic candidate, signed up two weeks later. At this point ServiceNation, a national campaign of more than 100 organizations promoting citizen service, invited Columbia to host the one-off event.

"The Presidential Forum was really finalized in the last few weeks and then announced immediately," David Stone, Executive Vice President For Communications at the university, explained. "John McCain said yes. Barack Obama didn't mark down 'til a few weeks ago. It's a wonderful moment to have this extraordinary non-partisan event at Columbia."

Preparations for the two-day ServiceNation Summit, featuring a host of events at the Hilton New York on Friday, began as early as last fall, according to Mary McNaught, of Civic Enterprises LLC, one of the organizers. "Our public policy forum came together last autumn to make this amazing event happen - it's been in the works for a year," she said. "It's a truly unique coalition."

Time became an early sponsor after its The Case for National Servicefront cover last September, followed by retailer Target, social networking website Facebook and AARP. The summit is underwritten by the Carnegie Corporation.

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