Dear Members and Friends,
Welcome to The Ronald W. Reagan Society of Eureka College.
Working together, members of the Reagan Society have given millions of dollars in generous gifts to help President Reagan's beloved alma mater stand taller and taller as a national beacon for the promise of American opportunity. Eureka College is a living legacy to the leadership lessons of Ronald Wilson Reagan.
Created by President J. David Arnold in 2008, the Reagan Society's purpose is to support Eureka College in its mission to encourage every person to discover a vision and voice for themselves to learn, serve, and lead in the world. Our hope is that every college will teach and celebrate the valuable lessons Ronald Reagan learned at Eureka College and used to change the world. We call our campaign "Reagan Forward!"
Thank you for support. Reagan Forward!
Shellie Schwanke, Director
The Ronald W. Reagan Society
Who We Are and What We Do
The Ronald W. Reagan Society raises money, builds relationships and organizes programs to support the many ways Eureka College serves as a living legacy for leadership lessons of Ronald Reagan. Membership is open to anyone who shares our belief in the promise of American opportunity.
Reagan Fellows and the Ronald W. Reagan Leadership Program
The Ronald W. Reagan Leadership Program is the only student scholarship program of its kind in history, created by a sitting president of the United States at his alma mater and designed to educate the next generation of leaders.
This year, the Reagan Leadership Program awarded more than $4,000,000 in scholarships to more than 100 semi-finalists and named six incoming freshman as Reagan Fellows, each of whom will receive full-tuition scholarships for all four years, two paid mentorships anywhere in the world, and a freshman trip.
Since 1982, more than 140 Reagan Fellows have graduated and gone on to serve in important leadership roles from business, arts, medicine, law, politics, education, non-profits and religious leadership. High achieving high school students with a strong record of service are encouraged to apply for the Reagan Leadership Program.
Honorary Reagan Fellows
The Honorary Reagan Fellow award is the highest honor Eureka College bestows in the name of our most famous graduate and recognizes exemplars of service and leadership. Created by President J. David Arnold on the 25th anniversary of the scholarship created by President Reagan, honorees are held up to the world as models. Some of the most significant leaders of modern history have been named Honorary Reagan Fellows of Eureka College. They include:
Honorable Edwin Meese III (2008)
President Mikhail Gorbachev (2009)
General P.X. Kelley, USMC (Ret.) (2010)
Secretary James A. Baker III (2012)
Justice Sandra Day O'Connor (Ret.) (2013)
Secretary George P. Shultz (2014)
Scholarships have been established in the names of Honorary Reagan Fellows and their active involvement and support for the college helps students immeasurably.
Reagan and Eureka College
Visit Reagan's Campus at Eureka College
You are invited to join the thousands of others who have come to visit Eureka College, including the Reagan Museum, the Reagan Peace Garden the Chapel where Dutch gave his first speech, and Mark R. Shenkman Reagan Research Center, the Reagan Athletic Center, McKinzie Field where he played football.
Ronald Reagan graduated from Eureka College in 1932 with a degree in economics and sociology but his heart never left the values of his small Midwestern college. He used his 1967 visit to proclaim, "the purpose of our nation is to unleash the full talent and the genius of every individual."
Today, we study, teach and share the story of Reagan's journey from small towns of Illinois to his achievements as one the most consequential leaders of the century. Reagan and Eureka is as an enduring story of inspiration to all emerging leaders today and a testament to the promise of American opportunity.
Virtual Photo Tour of the Reagan Musuem
About Eureka College
The college of Ronald Reagan is a window to the history of how people of faith and values have fought for radical progress for greater opportunity in American society, instilling this value in every future leader.
Siting amidst the cornfields between Peoria and Bloomington in central Illinois, Eureka College is a classical liberal arts institution founded in 1855 by the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ). The church was itself born from a radical ecumenical Christian movement. The college was founded by abolitionists, fighting for the end of slavery. Eureka College as first in the state of Illinois and third in the nation to admit men and women on equal basis.
Reagan Eureka College experience is critical to understanding the story of Ronald Reagan's early union activism in Hollywood, his anti-communism, his deep faith, his communication skills, and the populist conservatism that emerged as his philosophy. Without the Midwestern pragmatism combined with radical idealism represented in the Eureka College culture, it is entirely possible Reagan would have neither demanded the Berlin Wall come down nor sat down an Evil Empire to negotiate a greater peace.
The Reagan Museum at Eureka College is the largest collection of Reagan-related objects on public display outside the presidential library in Simi Valley, California. This special exhibition is remarkable because most of the objects on display were donated by President Reagan over the course of more than 40 years.
Visitors will see his only Golden Globe award, his presidential cowboy boots, a Medallion of Valor from the co-founder of Israel, and numerous awards and mementos from his years as Governor and President of the United States. Eureka-related objects on display include letters he wrote the college, an essay in his own hand, his robe as trustee of the college, and his diploma. Famous visitors to the museum have included Mikhail Gorbachev and Justice Sandra Day O'Connor as well as three of Ronald Reagan's children.
The museum is located in the Donald B. Cerf Center at the heart Eureka College's campus and is free and open to the public whenever the Cerf Center is open. Parking is available throughout campus. Tours are self-guided, but special school or group tours are available on request by emailing the museum.
Speakers Series and Receptions
The Ronald W. Reagan Society sponsors the best Reagan-related speakers series on any college campus in America with dozens of award-winning authors, scholars, public officials, and special guests speaking on a variety of subjects. Speakers series events are typically open to the general public for a modest cost and free to members of the Reagan Society, students and faculty. Speakers have included:
Del Wilber (Reagan Diaries)
Peter Hannaford (Reagan's Roots)
Marc Eliot (Hollywood Years)
Margot Morrell (Reagan's Journey)
Sheila Weinberg (Institute for Truth in Accounting)
Jim Owens (former CEO, Caterpillar)
Speaker Newt Gingrich (Commencement)
Joe Scarborough (Commencement)
Craig Shirley (Campaigns)
Paul Kengor (Faith and Reagan)
James Strock (Leadership)
Joe Petro (Secret Service)
Governor Jim Edgar (Public Service)
Fred Barnes (Media)
and many more.
Annual Reagan Society Sponsored Events
Eureka College has created a tradition of annual events that help us remember different values in ourselves through the recollection of his life.
Fall of the Wall (Nov 9) --- A celebration of freedom honoring Cold War veterans, Eureka College's Fall of the Wall event is the only annual ceremony commemorating the anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall on November 9, 1989.
Ways to Give
Reagan Society membership is only the beginning of opportunities to give to the Reagan legacy. Some members have been richly rewarded in the joy of giving in other areas like:
Reagan Leadership Program (Reagan Fellows)
Honorary Reagan Fellow Scholarships (Secretary George Shultz Scholarship, Secretary James A Baker III Scholarship, General P.X. Kelley Scholarship)
Capital Improvements (e.g. Mark R. Shenkman Reagan Research Center)
Reagan Museum (operation support and gifts of objects and items)
Reagan Peace Garden (maintenance)
Planned Giving / Estate Gifts to the Reagan Society
Endowed Professorships in Communications, Theater, Political Science, History, Economics, Leadership
Visiting Reagan Scholars
Sponsorship of Run with Reagan 5K, Fall of the Wall Event, Ronald W. Reagan Birthday Dinner, Reagan Memorial Event
Reagan Society Speakers Series or the Economic Forum
For information on chapters of the Ronald W. Reagan Society, contact the Reagan Society at Eureka College. Chapter meetings and other events have been held in New York, Washington, D.C., San Francisco, Phoenix, among other locations including Reagan Trail communities of Peoria, Tampico, Galesburg, Fulton, and Dixon, Illinois.
Shellie Schwanke, Director
The Ronald W. Reagan Society
300 E. College Ave.
Eureka , IL 61530
Visit Reagan's Campus
Ronald Reagan is the only president born, raised and educated in Illinois and Eureka College's campus, located at the end of the "Reagan Trail," is the best place to visit to learn about his college life and his leadership legacy.
The Ronald W. Reagan Society invites you to visit the many campus sites related to him where one can still picture him strolling across campus with his TKE fraternity brothers on his way to a class in economics, football practice or perhaps to see his older brother, Neil "Moon" who followed him to Eureka. You are invited to visit campus to experience Eureka College's Reagan Museum, Reagan Peace Garden, the Mark R. Shenkman Reagan Research Center at the Melick Library (by appointment).
Other Reagan-related sites on campus including The Chapel where he made his first speech, McKinzie Field where he played football, or the athletic center his brother and helped donate.
Annual Reagan Society Events
Historic Living Legacy Campus Locations ...
Mark R. Shenkman Reagan Research Center
The Mark R. Shenkman Reagan Research Center at Eureka College is the only place in the world housing all the books written on or about the life of Ronald Reagan. To celebrate the centennial of Ronald Reagan's birth, Reagan Society member Mark R. Shenkman of Greenwich, Connecticut made a gift to the college to establish a research archive with all of the estimated 1,000 Reagan-related books and other materials. The center is open by appointment through the Melick Library by emailing us. Donations of Reagan-related materials to Eureka College are welcome.
Reagan Peace Garden
The Reagan Peace Garden is home to a bronze bust and an authentic section of the Berlin Wall commemorating President Reagan's historic Eureka College commencement address on the fiftieth anniversary of his own graduation. The Reagan Peace Garden is one of few places in the world to find an authentic section of the Berlin Wall on a college campus. The bronze bust of Ronald Reagan was created by renowned artist Lonnie Stewart, and sits on a pedestal containing quotes from the speech, such as "Peace is not the absence of conflict, but the ability to cope with conflict by peaceful means." The peace garden was generously donated by former Eureka College board chairman David Vaughan and his wife, Anne Vaughan in 2000 and dedicated by President Reagan's daughter Maureen.
The Great Communicator made his first speech on the stage of The Chapel at Eureka College. A symbol of where Ronald Reagan first took a public stand for something he believed was right, 17-year old Ronald Reagan gave the speech that called for a vote of the student body on a student strike over a campus dispute with the college president, Bert Wilson and the board of trustees. (The president resigned on month later). Years later, Ronald Reagan would recall the speech, his first, as exciting as any I ever gave in my life.
The Lincoln Rock
The college that gave the nation Ronald Reagan was founded by close friends of Abraham Lincoln, who was among the first speakers on campus. In 1856, as a former Congressman, he spoke on behalf of the first Republican presidential candidate John C. Freemont. Today, a large rock stands at the site of his speech and Eureka College and Knox College football teams play for the Lincoln Bowl trophy each fall to help remember the shared Lincoln history of the colleges which were both founded by abolitionists.
Reagan Physical Education Center
The Reagan Center at Eureka College was dedicated by the Reagan brothers, Neil and Ronald, in 1970 and has been the site of President Reagan's START speech calling on the Soviets to negotiate arms reductions as well as remarks by former Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev 25 years later. Dedicated by Governor Ronald Reagan and his brother and fellow Eureka College alumnus, Neil Reagan, the Reagan Physical Education Center has been home to the athletic department and staff of Eureka College since 1970. Thousands of student athletes have made use of the facility and hundred of games are played there each year. Commencement is often held there as well.
Ronald Reagan believed in the power of a mentor. Outside his family, the most important mentor in Ronald Reagan's young adult years was his football coach at Eureka College, Coach Ralph "Mac" McKinzie. Exploring Reagan's alma mater is not complete without a visit to McKinzie Field, built by and named for Coach McKinzie and the place where Ronald Reagan played right guard on the Red Devils football team. A Reagan Centennial coin is used for the coin toss at football games. A battle axe is carried on the field to recall the line from a Reagan speech. And Coach McKinzie's son still comes back to remember his late father's contribution to the lives of hundreds of athletes he influenced including Dutch Reagan who stayed in touch with him for the rest of their lives.
The Ronald Reagan Trail
To fully understand the source of his faith and values and his unique leadership abilities, one must visit the Reagan Trail and see his roots in Illinois. You are invited to visit the Reagan Trail, an officially designated tourism trail in Illinois. Two hours apart from top to bottom, the trail runs from his ancestral home in Fulton, Illinois along the Mississippi where both of his parents came from to his own birthplace in Tampico, Illinois where one can still visit the apartment on the town strip where he was born. The Reagan Trail includes his boyhood home of Dixon, his birthplace in Tampico, his homes in Galesburg and Monmouth and the place which helped make him into a leader, Eureka College. For more information visit, the Ronald Reagan Trail.
The Pritchard Hall Theatre
Ronald Reagan acted in 14 plays during his four years at Eureka College, and a visit to Prichard Hall to see a production is still a reminder of one of the most important influences on his early life. Today, the theater department is located in the old gymnasium, Pritchard Hall, where Dutch once coached the swim team in a pool that is now located beneath the stage.