Photo of the Week, 40: “The Gipper” here in 1955
Ronald Reagan was no stranger to
Bloomington-Normal, having attended Eureka College from 1928 until his
graduation in 1932. As a member of the football team he competed in away
games against both Illinois State Normal University and Illinois
The Hollywood B movie actor, conservative activist and future California governor (1967-1975) and U.S. president (1981-1989) returned to the Twin Cities for a three-day visit on October 19-21, 1955.
At this time he was serving as national spokesperson for General Electric and host of the corporate giant's weekly television program “General Electric Theater." As part of his duties the 44-year-old was visiting GE plants across the nation, including Bloomington's sprawling east side facility that manufactured electrical control devices. “Reagan was met by wide-eyed enthusiasm and sometimes girlish giggles," noted The Pantagraph. Seen here are plant employees Jeanne Brown (on Reagan's immediate left) and Jean Walden (immediate right).
Reagan returned to Bloomington-Normal on at least two other occasions: On January 20, 1961, he delivered a talk before the Association of Commerce's sixtieth annual banquet, and on October 18, 1980, he participated in ISU's Homecoming parade.