EUREKA — Ronald Reagan's communication skills made him likeable, but they also were key to his successful leadership style, according to a co-chairman of Eureka College’s yearlong dedication to its most famous alumnus.
President Reagan would have turned 100 on Feb. 6. Former Gov. Jim Edgar will keynote a Friday conference celebrating the centennial.
“He’s a product of Illinois and our way of thinking and doing things. … Not so much ideology, but more in terms of his work ethic, knowing what is right and wrong,” Edgar told The Pantagraph. “I think with Reagan, even if you disagreed with him you could trust him. There was a respect there. That goes a long way.”
Edgar speaks at the fourth annual Reagan dinner, which culminates an all-day campus conference entitled “Reagan and the Midwest.” All events are open to the public.
Speakers, who include former U.S. Attorney General Ed Meese, are national experts on Reagan, such as peers and academics.
Edgar, a Charleston native, is a distinguished fellow with the Institute of Government and Public Affairs. Before his 1990 election as governor, he served a decade as secretary of state and previously as a state representative.
Meese spent much of his career as Reagan’s adviser and holds the Ronald Reagan Chair in Public Policy at the conservative Heritage Foundation. In that role, he’s charged with keeping Reagan’s conservative principles alive in public debate.
He also is chairman of the foundation’s legal studies center.
Other participants include Fred Barnes, Fox News commentator and editor of The Weekly Standard, and Peter Hannaford, who worked with Reagan in California and during his 1980 presidential campaign.
Martin Anderson, Annelise Anderson and Craig Shirley, who have worked on books about Reagan’s life and speeches, are among other experts who will lead academic presentations.
Edgar speaks at 7:30 p.m. Major sponsorship of the conference comes from Caterpillar Inc. with additional support from nearly a dozen area businesses.
Roots of Reagan
What: “Reagan and the Midwest” conference
When: Friday, with access to evening meal and keynote address by Gov. Jim Edgar.
Where: Eureka College; most events in Cerf Center.
Cost: $75 conference fee includes breakfast, lunch and admission to private reception and dinner; additional $50 covers optional Saturday bus trip to Tampico and Dixon.
To register: www.reagan.eureka.edu/conference or call 309-467-6301.