Remarks at a Ronald W.
Reagan Scholarship Fundraising Dinner for
The President. Thank you, President
George Hearn, the president of
I think of
learned a lot at
I said, I learned a lot at
one thing I'll always cherish about
But seriously, in that time of such great strain -- and when you can imagine what happened to the endowment of a small college like that in that great crash and the Great Depression, and you went to class every day and knew that the professors who were teaching you, and without any grumble or complaint, had not been paid for weeks and weeks and weeks -- and that the townspeople and the merchants and the grocers and so forth carried them on the books -- just with the knowledge that somehow things would turn out all right. Those were Depression years, and I'm so happy about the scholarship program that you've done me the honor of giving in my name. It gives the students the opportunity to work for their schooling, and it also gives them something else I was lucky enough to have -- a mentor. That's a part of the program -- someone who will take an interest in them and their future.
in my case it was a fellow from
And finally, I was there for that last summer after I'd graduated, because I had to get enough money to try to go out and find a job -- 1932, the lowest year of the Great Depression. And many of those men during the summers had said to me that when I got out of college, come see them. And I had sort of relied on that. But by 1932 many of those weren't coming back to the lodge anymore. They had their own problems, and they weren't saying that anymore. But Sid Aultschuler was there, and I taught his two small daughters to swim that same summer. And then Sid, out of all them, said to me: ``If you can tell me what you really want to do and what you want to get into,'' he said, ``I think I have some connections that, if it touches on any of those, that I can help, even in these hard times.'' But he said, ``You're going to have to tell me what you want to do.'' Well, there I was with my degree in economics, a graduate with a bachelor of arts degree, and it hadn't occurred to me really what I wanted to do or anything except get a job of some kind or other. It was those kind of times. But he had laid it on me.
I finally went home, and I laid awake half the night. And finally, it dawned on
me that some of my extracurricular activities, in addition to football, had
rubbed off -- playing Captain Stanhope in ``Journey's End'' in the drama class
play of the year, going out with the glee club, and doing comedy routines -- I
didn't sing, I talked. [Laughter] But in a little town in
Well, I'd named something in which he had no connections at all. [Laughter] But Sid gave me the greatest advice in the world, and all you young people who are listening, pay attention to your mentors. He said, ``Maybe it's just as well that I don't have any connections, because,'' he said, ``if I got you a job someplace, the man giving you the job wouldn't be interested in you. He'd be giving you the job because of me.'' He said, ``Everyplace there are people that know that this isn't going to last forever, this Depression. They are going to know that their future depends on getting young people into their business.'' So, he said, ``What you should do is just start going to radio stations. You needn't tell them whether you want to be a sports announcer. Just tell them that you believe in the future of that business, and you'll take any job in order to get inside of radio, and then take your chances from there.''
I did that. It meant hitchhiking, and I figured that if I started at the top,
at the big stations in
But on the way out, I said to myself, ``How does a guy get to be a sports announcer if he can't get a job in a radio station?'' And I went down to the elevator, which fortunately wasn't there, and I heard a clumping. Pete McArther was crippled up with arthritis, on two canes, and he was coming down the hall, and he was calling in a very profane way for that big SOB to stop and wait. So, I waited for him, and he came up, and he said, ``What's that you said about sports?'' And I said, ``Well, I think I'd like to do that and that I could do that.'' He said, ``Could you tell me about a football game and make me see it if I'm sitting at home listening to my radio?'' And I said, ``I think so.''
He took me in the studio, stood me in front of a microphone, and he said: ``When the red light goes on, you'll be alone here. I'll be in another room listening. You start broadcasting an imaginary football game.'' [Laughter] Well, I remembered a game that we had won in the last 20 seconds with a 65-yard touchdown. The key to the play, an off-tackle smash, was for the right guard running interference to take out the first man in the secondary in order to let our man break loose. In the game I missed my block -- [laughter] -- but our man made the touchdown. I replayed that fourth quarter for him, and in the replay, I nailed that fellow with a -- [inaudible]. [Laughter]
Now, I was right about one thing. Deep in my heart it was always acting I really wanted, and I thought that radio would be a quick jump for that, and it turned out to be. There are some in Washington who wish I'd jumped in the river instead. [Laughter] That wouldn't have helped them, because I was the lifeguard -- that's what my job was. [Laughter]
Sid Aultschuler isn't here, but two mentors for those
scholars are -- Al Haig and Selwa
Roosevelt. And I just want to say thanks to them, and let me also say thanks to
someone who isn't a part of the mentor program, but who I know has taken a
special interest in one of our scholars -- Strom Thurmond. This young man who's
here is an intern in Strom's office. And I thank all of you, and the kind of generosity
that you're showing this evening is the kind that built not just
could I just take a minute, because maybe some of you who are being so kind
don't know very much about that little school out there on the prairie. Well,
in the first place, it is the oldest coeducational college west of the
Alleghenies. And it was started by some people who arrived there in that part
There used to be a giant elm, which finally has given up, outside of one of the buildings called Burgess. It was called recruiting elm, outside of Burgess Hall, because Captain Burgess in the Civil War stood down beneath that tree and called up to the classrooms of the one building at that time of the college for the young men to come down and enlist in the Union Army. Now, it isn't true that I was one of the young men there. [Laughter]
as I say, tradition that is so rich, and as you've been told, the wonderful
thing about a small liberal arts college of that kind is not only that you get
a good education, but you can't hide. You can't just go to class and back to
your quarters again as you could in some of the great universities. I've been a
regent of the 9-campus
I had it to do over again, I would go to
I just want you to know how deeply grateful I am and that what you have done
and what you are doing for this institution is for something that is very
worthwhile. And maybe there aren't as many of them left in the country as there
should be, but I pray to God there will always be a
Thank you all very much. God bless you all.
Pfautch. I have two very brief presentations. Mr.
President, I did not go to
now a special presentation by the president of the student body of
Mr. Gould. Mrs. Reagan, Mr. President, just one thing before I get started. I've been asked to remind everyone to please stand after this presentation and join the Eureka College madrigal singers in our alma mater, ``'Neath the Elms.''
There is also another thing that I'd like to say. Three years ago we met the President in the White House, in 1983. And at that time we were all clustered around the President and Mrs. Reagan. And I said to Mrs. Reagan then, I said, ``Thanks for what you have done in the fight against drugs, because there could be a lot of people here right now, a lot of people in college on scholarships if it wasn't for drugs.'' This lady hasn't jumped on the bandwagon; she's been a bandwagon. I just want to thank Mrs. Reagan.
you could tell, the President loves
The President. ``Aria Da Capo.''
Gould. He won a national honor for his role presentation there. He was also on
the football team. He was a big part of
The President asked me to remind you that his school colors are maroon and gold, and thank you.
Now, if we all rise and join in singing of ``'Neath the Elms Upon the Campus.''
The President. -- -- would you like to say something? An after dinner speaker gets an encore? [Laughter]
you have just heard it, the alma mater there. And, again, I can only just say,
I'm so grateful to all of you. See, I couldn't afford one in 1932. [Laughter]
But another tradition that I don't know whether it exists today -- and then I
will quit -- is:
Thank you all, again. God bless you all.
Note: The President spoke at at the Willard Intercontinental Hotel. Roy Pfautch was a donor to the scholarship fund; and Rodney T. Gould, a Reagan scholarship recipient, was the student body president. Prior to his remarks, the President attended a fundraising reception at the hotel.