Reagan’s Thoughts on Eureka


Compiled by Dr. Brian Sajko , former Curator of the Reagan Museum

“In four short years you blink and college is gone. You go to class, you study hard- even pulling an occasional all-nighter. You struggle through “Western Civilization and Culture,” you meet your friends at “The Outpost” for a few beers. Some of you join fraternities and sororities, you fall in and out of love, you cheer for the Red Devils and before you know it, you’re in cap and gown. It’s hard to believe it happens so fast, but it does.”

“In your short time here, you became best friends with people you did not even know before you came here. I’ll bet you hardly remember when you did not know many of the people you are closest to today. The bonding which takes place in college is unlike any other experience.”

“My young friends, savor these moments. Keep the memories close to your heart.”

“The most valuable lesson I learned at Eureka is that every individual makes a difference.”

“One of the first things I found out about my particular college was that, because of its size, we assumed a lot of assignments. Most of the time we took a whole host of leadership roles simply because there was no one else to do it. It was my first taste of stepping forward and assuming responsibility for more than my own life, and I never forgot it. Sometimes, when I think of how little I knew about life, contrasted with how much responsibility I took on at Eureka, it makes me smile. But the college never let me do less than my best.”

“I had never faced a kickoff without a prayer. I didn’t pray to win- I didn’t expect God to take sides- but I prayed no one would be injured, we’d all do our best and have no regrets no matter how the game came out.”

“Eureka, of course, is a Greek word that means I have found it and it described perfectly the sense of discovery I felt the day I arrived here in the fall of 1928. Eureka was everything I had dreamed it would be and more.”

“I was born February 6, 1911, in a flat above the local bank in Tampico, Illinois. According to family legend, when my father ran up the stairs and looked at his newborn son, he quipped, “He looks like a fat little Dutchman. But who knows, he might grow up to be president some day.” I asked people to call me “Dutch.” That was a nickname that grew out of my father’s calling me “the Dutchman” whenever he referred to me.”

“From one Red Devil to all the others- hail to the maroon and gold, and hail to our alma mater, and I think all of us should pledge in our hearts that it will be there long after we’re gone, doing for young people what it did for us.”

“If I had to do it all over again, I’d go to Eureka College.”