Eager to raise its profile, tiny Lynn University touted its South Florida location and rounded up an impressive array of political heavyweights to help secure its long-shot bid to host Monday night's nationally televised presidential debate.
The little-known but plucky university — a popular T-shirt says "Lynn University, we've never heard of you either" — reconfigured its theater, transformed its entrance and promoted its proximity to ports, airports and thousands of hotel rooms in the largest swing state in the presidential election.
But little Lynn got the big debate not so much because of its highfalutin political connections or Florida's outsized role in the 2012 campaign. A can-do spirit and a focus on civics are what brought the national spotlight to the Boca Raton campus.
"What really struck us was the attitude at Lynn from Day One: 'Just tell us what we need to do, and we'll do it,' " said Peter Eyre, senior adviser to the Commission on Presidential Debates. "They rolled up their sleeves. They have been a terrific partner. And that's really why — among other reasons — they were selected.
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