EUREKA, Ill – It’s hard to visit Eureka College and not see the impact of Ronald Reagan.
Likewise, when you visit the college’s Ronald Reagan library, it’s hard to find a picture of the president without his first lady by his side.
“Mrs. Reagan meant everything to Ronald Reagan,” John D. Morris told WMBD Sunday. He’s the president of the Ronald W. Reagan Society. “She helped with every personnel decision. She helped watch his back. She was extraordinarily loyal to him.”
Nancy Reagan visited Eureka College seven times.
She was instrumental in helping establish a yearly scholarship to the school. Scholarship Recipients, called Reagan fellows, participate in a leadership building program.
“The Reagan Leadership program was established here, and through that program Mrs. Reagan had the opportunity to interact with our students,” said Dr. J. David Arnold, the president of Eureka College.
The former first lady meant so much to Eureka College that they awarded her an honorary degree in 2007.
“She’s a role model in terms of her public service,” said Arnold. “We believe in servant leadership, and Nancy Reagan is a role model servant leader.”
“Her impact on the college was that she dearly, and deeply loved our most famous alumnus,” said Morris. “And he deeply loved his alma mater. And together they changed the world.”
And even though the two have passed on, the impact they’ve had on Eureka College will continue changing the lives of young adults in Central Illinois.
Eureka college’s service honoring the former first lady will be this week.