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La Verne alumnus Ross Mathews, who made a name for himself as a Hollywood personality as 'Ross The Intern' preps the students in the room before Tuesday's televised presidential debate.

La Verne alumnus Ross Mathews, who made a name for himself as a Hollywood personality as 'Ross The Intern' preps the students in the room before Tuesday's televised presidential debate.

Tuned In

One of the school’s most famous alumni, Ross Mathews, stages a Homecoming event of his own, a televised presidential debate party with a roomful of La Verne students.

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  • October 16, 2012

It’s Homecoming Week and Ross Mathews celebrated his own Tuesday by surrounding himself with three of the things he loves most: political debate, a live audience and the University of La Verne.

Ross Mathews preps the roomful of La Verne students prior to Tuesday night's debate, seating undecided voters up front to see if they were swayed by what they saw and heard.

It had been 10 years since Mathews, a TV personality who made a name for himself as “Ross The Intern,” on “The Tonight Show,” had walked the corridors of his alma mater. Famous for his unique style, the irrepressible Mathews is currently covering the presidential race for E! News. Wanting to tap into the soul of America’s youth on the issues of the current campaign, he could think of no better place than La Verne.

“It was important for me to come to La Verne for this because I know what a jewel this community is,” Mathews said. “Coming back, 10 years after I graduated, I barely even recognize it, and I’m so proud of it, at the same time.”

When the debate began, Mathews, a self-described 'political junky,' plopped himself down right in the middle of the students to watch.

Mathews brought a camera crew out from Hollywood, set up in the Nancy and Jerry Laird Lounge on the first floor of the Sara & Michael Abraham Campus Center and invited about five dozen La Verne students to watch Tuesday’s presidential debate between President Barack Obama and Massachussetts governor Mitt Romney.

Mathews said he believes it is the college student demographic which has its finger on the pulse of this election, and he spent much of his time both before and after the televised debate coverage emphasizing to the students the power they wield and their value to the candidates.

La Verne president Devorah Lieberman stopped by to catch Mathews working the room.

“I wanted to show that college kids are in tune, that they have opinions that matter, Mathews said. “The candidates know this demographic matters; I don’t know if the public at-large knows. This is a vote that (the students) take as seriously as the rest of us.”

Mathews prepped the crowd by polling their preferences, paying extra attention to the undecided. Afterward, he took another poll and found that most of the undecided voters now lean toward Obama and the overwhelming majority of the 40 or so left in the room afterward proclaimed Obama the winner of Tuesday’s Town Hall-style debate.

“La Verne came to play today,” Mathew said. “These students were educated, they were opinionated, they were open to having their minds changed. All of that happened while having the debate today. They know this vote is going to affect them even greater than it’s going to affect the other demographics.”

To watch E! News footage, please click here and enter password Mathews2002.

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