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Posted on 02/06/2014 10:15:28 PM PST by iowamark
EUREKA Neil Reagans contributions to Eureka College have often been overshadowed by his younger brother.
Not quite as much Thursday when the college used the 159th anniversary of Eurekas founding and what would have been Ronald Reagans 103rd birthday to announce a $1 million gift from the estate of Neil and Bess Reagan.
Neil Reagan, of course, was the first brother, the only sibling of the countrys 40th president, Ronald Reagan, another Eureka alumni.
With only 700 students, the size of the gift will have a strong impact, said John Morris, director of the colleges Ronald Reagan Society. The money will go into Eurekas roughly $20 million endowment to support various student scholarships.
Neil and Bess Reagan also left more than 100 objects and photographs to the college. Much of it documents bits and pieces of a man who followed his brother to Eureka College, then to California and the entertainment business.
A former advertising executive, Neil Moon Reagan died in 1996 at the age of 88. His wife, Bess, died in 2010 at 102.
Neil Reagan graduated from Eureka in 1933, a year after Ronald Reagan graduated from the college. Both majored in economics and sociology and both went on to serve as trustees of the college. The Reagan Physical Education Center on Eurekas campus was named in honor of the brothers.
Neil Reagan also directed the radio series Dr. Christian and directed his brother in the television series Death Valley Days.
The college actually received the memorabilia more than a year ago, as sort of a first installment of the bequest, said Tony Glass, archivist and curator of collections at Eureka.
One of the most interesting finds was a scrapbook documenting Neil Reagans early efforts to build an acting career, Glass said.
I wish we could say we had boxes of letters, correspondence and things of that nature, Glass added. But its hard to assess interest or value until everything has had a chance to age, I guess.
What, if any, of Ronald Reagans estate will end up at the college is an open question while his widow, Nancy, still is alive.
We dont know what might come down the pike, Glass said.
Neil Reagans gift merely adds another layer of the Reagan brothers legacy to Eureka, Morris said.
These two guys came from the most humble roots, small-town Illinois, went to this small school its an American story, Morris said. Its the promise of opportunity in America thats a central theme of Eureka College.
Nice to see and hopefully more of Reagan’s legacy will end up here, as he was always true to his roots.
President Ronald Reagan, we miss you so.
. . . Ronald Reagan, another Eureka
Had the writer, Pam Adams, the benefit of a classical education typical of a 1930s institution like Eureka College, she would have been an alumna. But I guess she wouldn't know that, from her training as a journalist in today's schools, would she?