reagan forward
the mark r. shenkman reagan research center


The Ronald W. Reagan Leadership Program

Developing Vision and Voice in Future Leaders


For more than a quarter century, the Reagan Leadership Program at Eureka College has identified future leaders and helped them develop their individual vision and voice. This program is unique in its relationship to President Reagan who heartily endorsed its establishment while in office and who maintained a close personal relationship with Eureka College throughout his life. Inspired by his story and success, the program provides opportunities and resources to accelerate leadership development in students selected on the basis of their demonstrated leadership potential to become Reagan Fellows.

Fellows explore leadership in the context of the Servant Leader model, positioning enlightened leadership in the context of service to others. This model argues that the motivation to lead comes not from a sense of personal ego or accomplishment but as a response to the call to serve. That exploration is expanded to delve into other current leadership models and theories. Discussion takes place during workshops as well as bi-weekly informal sessions, typically focused on a selected topic.

meet natalie

Fellows Learn Through Discussion, Contemplation & Mentorship

  • Reagan Fellows are given opportunities to interact in small, intimate exchanges with speakers, authors, and other prominent figures who regularly visit the campus. During these informal sessions, Fellows are encouraged to ask questions and seek the insights of these leaders as they relate to their personal vision, experiences and philosophies. Recent sessions have included meetings with Ambassador Barbara Barrett; General P. X. Kelly, former Commandant of the Marine Corps; and former President of the Soviet Union Mikhail Gorbachev.

  • Reagan Fellows are required to engage in service at several levels as part of their exploration of servant leadership. As a group, Reagan Fellows support several organizations and events throughout the year including a day-long workshop for high school students. Individually, high expectations are placed on Fellows to be active throughout the campus and to serve as student leaders in a variety of capacities. Each Fellow is also required to implement a personal service project during the year and is encouraged to seek new challenges. As they progress through their four years at Eureka College, they are pushed to expand their level of service to take on growing leadership responsibilities.

  • The third component of the Reagan Leadership Program is an emphasis on mentorship. Just as President Reagan recognized the critical insight and guidance received from key people throughout his life, unique opportunities for Fellows are created to develop mentoring relationships with accomplished leaders. The formal mentorship may be relatively brief, lasting only a week or two, or extend over several months. Fellows are encouraged to seek experiences that test and reinforce their own leadership aspirations while moving them outside their comfort zones. This often requires students to seek international and cross-cultural experiences. Funding to support travel, housing and related expenses is provided to each Fellow for two mentorship experiences during their time as students here.

meet seth


While we pride ourselves in looking back on the service and leadership exhibited by President Reagan, we also look to the living legacy he left this campus, this nation and the world. That legacy resides in more than a quarter century of Reagan Scholars and Fellows who are alumni of the program and are pursuing their own leadership journeys. For each of them, just as in the case of President Ronald Reagan, the journey begins.


The Leadership Program on Eureka College website >


Meet former Reagan Fellows >



How the Fellows are Selected -

Reagan Fellows are selected from a pool of qualified candidates based on primarily on their leadership potential. As part of their application process, students are required to document their academic record, complete essays that provide a measure for insight into their understanding of and motivation to seek leadership roles. In addition applicants are required to provide letters of recommendation supporting their academic qualification and past record of service in their respective communities.


Applicants who are screened into the qualified applicant pool are then invited to participate in Reagan Weekend activities, which include presentation for students and parents about the program. The critical focus of the weekend is a series of personal interviews and leadership exercises to further screen candidates. Using feedback from students, faculty and staff members, the pool is narrowed further and final selection is made following a series of telephone interviews.


The primary criteria used throughout the selection process is leadership potential based on past records of leadership and service as well as the insights into individual attitudes, aptitudes and aspirations of the candidate gained from application documents and firsthand observations through interviews and exercises. In addition, candidates are evaluated to ensure that they are likely to meet the academic requirements of the program and will represent the Reagan Leadership program and Eureka College as very visible ambassadors.


The Ronald W. Reagan Leadership Program

Michael Thurwanger