Leadership in the Making
Ronald Reagan & a Liberal Arts Education at Eureka College
At Eureka College, we know that a liberal arts education prepares students to serve as leaders. Ronald Reagan knew this. Throughout his life, he emphasized the importance of the liberal arts education he received at Eureka College in preparing him to be a leader.
Eureka College offered Ronald Reagan many opportunities that helped him identify his passions and interests. He played football. He acted in plays. He served as a student spokesman and leader. And he learned in his classes how to communicate his ideas effectively in writing and in speech. This is a fundamental goal of a liberal arts education. It is also a fundamental skill that good leaders possess. They translate their ideas effectively for different audiences.
As Ronald Reagan understood, leaders confront complex problems that require more than simple solutions. A liberal arts education challenges students to understand the different ways that knowledge is produced. At Eureka College, our students study problems from different disciplinary perspectives, and learn to consider those multiple perspectives carefully to make informed decisions.
After he graduated from Eureka College, Ronald Reagan was first a radio broadcaster and later a movie actor. He served as president of the Screen Actors Guild, as governor of California, and as the President of the United States. In each of these positions, he had to learn about new ideas, new cultures, and new vocabularies. Ronald Reagan continued to be a learner throughout his life, but it was at Eureka College that he learned how to learn.
Ronald Reagan's liberal arts education prepared him well to develop his leadership skills. At Eureka College today, we continue to develop leaders who are broad thinkers, lifelong learners, and excellent communicators.
Historic Campus - Historic Student
The National Park Service recently honored Eureka College with the designation of National Historic District. It did so, in part, because of Eureka's unique architecture, but more so because of EC's heritage of servant leaders who changed the world for the better. This rich heritage of servant leaders was the world into which Ronald Reagan stepped in the fall of 1928. Reagan's mother, Nelle, and his Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) Minister - the Reverend Benjamin Cleaver - had imparted stories of the College which was founded by abolitionists in 1855 and was the first college in Illinois and third in the nation to accept men and women on an equal basis.
The liberal arts and sciences approach which grounded students in a wide-variety of disciplines, while specializing in one, was meant to create leaders, creators, and inventors who could look to broad disciplines for creative answers in a particular discipline. This approach profoundly changed a young Ronald Reagan. View the links above to learn more.