While every Mock Convention is memorable, this timeline will alow you to explore a few especially intriguing years, as well as expand upon our history and our legacy.

1908: The Beginning

In the spring of 1908, presidential candidate William Jennings Bryan visited Lexington, Virginia. His visit created quite a stir on the politically-minded, all male campus of the early 1900s. To welcome his visit, W&L’s leading political group at the time, The Forum, organized a replica of the 1908 Democratic Convention, which concluded with an accurate prediction of Bryan and the nominee.

1916: Switching Things Up

In the winter of 1916, W&L Mock Convention held the first ever Convention for the Republican Party in which they correctly predicted the nominee to be Supreme Court Justice Charles Evans Hughes for the Republican Party. Thus, extending the legacy of accuracy to both the Democratic and Republican parties.

1920: Nobody's Perfect

The 1920 Convention was the first of only two conventions that did not come to fruition. The 1920 Convention did not come to fruition because of lacking interest. 1920 was also the year women earned the right to vote, which unfortunately did not inspire much political activism given the all-male nature of campus at that time. The other convention that did not come to fruition was that of 1944 because of the Second World War.

1948: Bigger Is Always Better

Prior to the 1948 Convention, the student body organized their own events to celebrate their work. However, this was the first convention to hold a Convention Parade and include the city of Lexington in the fun.

1956: Heroic Speakers

The 1956 Convention hosted some impressive speakers, including the honorable former Vice President Alben Barkley. Barkley tragically died during his speech at the Convention.

1972: Just Another Day in the Office

In 1972, then-governor Jimmy Carter's press secretary, Jody Powell, missed the governor's Mock Convention speech because Powell had been celebrating with a group of W&L students and alumni.

1980: A Hallmark Parade

During this particularly interesting parade year, a poorly-timed firework display from one of the State floats resulted in the Iowa float being set aflame. Other parade highlights included the Budweiser Clydesdales and the celebrity elephant Jewel, who entertained the crowd with tricks along the route.

1988: A Presidential Encore

Four-years before then-governor Bill Clinton was the predicated nominee for the Democratic Party in 1992, he was a key note speaker at the 1988 Convention. Bill Clinton is best remembered for his impromptu concert for students at an off-campus venue.

1996: The Big Leagues

By 1996, the Washington Post acknowledged the Mock Convention as "one of the nation's oldest and most prestigious mock conventions." 1996 was additionally the first year the Convention garnered coverage from C-SPAN.

2016: The Art of the Prediction

In the most recent Convention, W&L was one of the first organizations to predict Donald Trump as the Republican nominee. Although the decision was controversial, our meticulous research was accurate.