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The Ronald Reagan Centennial

Published by USC Bedrosian Center on

Leadership and Legacy : An Academic Symposium

Multiple Locations

Reagan Centennial Symposium Papers and Videos

February 1-2, 2011

Executive Leadership from the Inside Out

Paper from James Pfiffner, George Mason University : Paradox of President Reagan’s Leadership

Presidents must lead a large staff of internal advisors, appointees, and high-ranking civil servants. Join the discussion about the ways that Ronald Reagan approached these difficult leadership challenges and how his managerial leadership compares to other presidents.

Reagan’s California

Kevin Starr keynote address

Starr, American historian, best-known for his multi-volume series on the history of California, collectively called “America and the California Dream” as he discusses the impact of Ronald Reagan as governor of California and President of the United States.

Communicating Leadership

Paper from Robert Rowland, University of Kansas : Principle Pragmatism and Authenticity in Reagan’s Rhetoric

Communication is one of the most studied dimensions of presidential leadership, and rhetorical skills and media presence are oft-cited as keys to Reagan’s leadership record. Discuss how Reagan’s time (political and historical) and Reagan’s talents contribute to his designation as the “Great Communicator.” Find out when, where, and why the communication influenced policy, politics, and public opinion during the Reagan years.

Branching Out

Paper: Matthew Beckmann, UC Irvine – President Reagan’s Legislative Touch

Ronald Reagan once remarked, “I have wondered at times what the Ten Commandments would have looked like if Moses had run them through the U.S. Congress” (qtd. In Beckmann, 2010, pg1). Ronald Reagan’s time in office highlights critical and enduring questions about the limits of presidential agency, the challenges of agenda setting, and the nature and function of legislative engagement.

Keynote by Tom Brokaw

Reflections on the 40th President of the United States and the 33rd Governor of California, by the former NBC Nightly News anchor. In 1966, just months before Governor Reagan took office, Tom Brokaw was named anchor at Los Angeles’ KNVC. As NBC’s White House correspondent, he covered the 1976 and 1980 presidential conventions and campaigns. As NBC Nightly News Anchor, he reported on President Reagan’s two terms.

Biography and the Construction of Presidential Legacy

Paper: Richard Reeves, USC : Last Campaign Legacy

Ronald Reagan is credited with transforming political institutions and policy agendas, securing and supporting traditional elements of American life, and reawakening trust in government and a general sense of positivity and hopefulness. Join us as we discuss the role biography has played in shaping the Reagan legacy and how this role in the construction of presidential legacy changed over time and varied across presidents.


Bedrosian Center