Reagan centennial events unveiled

DeWayne Bartels
Former Ill. Gov. Jim Edgar talks about the need to celebrate Ronald Reagan's life and example at Eureka College Sept. 7. Looking on is Eureka College President J. David Arnold.

Eureka College’s most noted alum President Ronald Reagan will take center stage at the college as events begin unfolding to mark the 100th anniversary of his birth — Feb. 6, 2011.

Former Ill Gov. and Honorary Chairman of the Eureka College Ronald Reagan Centennial Celebration Jim Edgar was at the college Sept. 7 to help Eureka College President J. David Arnold announce the list of events to observe Reagan’s legacy.

Arnold said Reagan’s legacy is important to remember because the former president never forgot his Central Illinois roots and because his life and leadership style is an inspiration to a new generation of leaders.

Arnold said Edgar was a natural choice to be the honorary chairman of the effort because, “Gov. Edgar knows how to lead in times of adversity.”

Arnold pointed out Edgar entered office in 1991 with a state budget that had a $1.1 billion deficit. He left office in 1999 with a budget surplus of $1.5 billion.

Edgar said Reagan was much more than a charismatic figure.

“He was one of the most outstanding leaders this country has ever produced,” Edgar said to a large crowd at the college’s Cerf Center.

“He proves Central Illinois is a good place to be from.”

Edgar said Reagan’s legacy also proves - despite Illinois recent political black eye from former governor’s George Ryan and Rod Blagojevich - Illinois politics is not just about corruption.

“A lot of people don’t think much of Illinois politics,” Edgar said.

He said that names in addition to Reagan like Adlai Stevenson, Everett Dirksen and Abraham Lincoln prove Illinois has a political heritage Illinoisans can be proud of.    

“That’s a pretty good lineup. That speaks well of Central Illinois,” Edgar said.

Arnold said the mission of the college and the events planned to mark Reagan’s life is to extend leadership qualities to another generation.

“Leaders confront difficult issues and challenges that defy easy solutions,” Arnold said.

Eureka College officials announced a wide variety of events to commemorate the 100th anniversary of President Ronald Reagan’s birth.

What follows is a brief rundown of planned events.


Eureka College will observe Reagan’s birth on Feb. 6, 2011, with a series of speakers who will address Reagan’s impact on their lives. The series will kick off this month and end in May.

The free presentations will be at 7:30 p.m. in the Cerf Center, unless otherwise noted. They will include:  

On Sept. 17 Michael Maibach, CEO of the European-American Business Council, will discuss his work on President Reagan’s Commission on Industrial Competitiveness from 10 a.m. to noon in the Cerf Center.

On Oct. 4 William Wind, a 1993 graduate of Eureka College and former Ronald Reagan Fellow at the college, will discuss his career as a member of the U.S. Secret Service vice presidential detail.                                                                    On Oct. 25 Carrie Thompson Wolf, a 1994 graduate and former Reagan Fellow, will discuss her role as an assistant parliamentarian for the U.S. House of Representatives.

On Nov. 1 George Leal, a 1992 graduate and former Reagan Fellow, will discuss his work as an assistant district attorney for the U.S. District Court, El Paso, Texas.


Eureka College will host noted authors and scholars from around the United States at a Ronald Reagan-themed academic conference this winter. The “Reagan and the Midwest” conference Jan. 14 and 15 will explore aspects of life in the Midwest from the early 1900s to the 1930s and how those aspects influenced Reagan’s formative years.

Conference participants will include former U.S. Attorney General Edwin Meese III and authors Martin Anderson and Annelise Anderson. Other participants will be announced later.

The conference will be open to the public. Details will be announced later. For more information, contact Eureka College Provost Philip Acree Cavalier at 467-6300 or go to


Eureka College will celebrate the 100th anniversary of alumnus Ronald Reagan’s birth by hosting a party in conjunction with Super Bowl XLV. The celebration on Feb. 6 in Reagan Physical Education Center will run from pre-show through post-game coverage on Fox and will include big-screen TVs tuned to the game, food and birthday cake.

The admission cost of $20 will include a buffet of a variety of foods and beverages throughout the event. Eureka College students will be admitted free of charge. Alcoholic beverages will be prohibited.  

To make reservations, call 467-6420.  


Craig Shirley, an author of books about Ronald Reagan’s political campaigns will teach a course at Eureka College next year. Shirley will teach “A Survey of American Presidential Campaigns” during the May term in 2011.

Shirley will be the first scholar in the college’s Ronald Reagan Visiting Scholars Program, according to Eureka College Provost Philip Acree Cavalier.

Details about enrolling in the class will be available later by contacting registrar Scott Wignall at or going to