July 4 marked the grand opening of the Reagan Ranch Center at 217 State Street in Santa Barbara, formerly the Neal Hotel Building. The ribbon-cutting event included the opening of student programs, a barbecue for foundation supporters, and a speech by radio host Michael Reagan, the late president’s son.
The center was established by Young America’s Foundation, the largest conservative student outreach organization in the country. According to the foundation, the center’s goal is to educate students and the larger public on Ronald Reagan’s conservative ideals and teachings, particularly “individual freedom, a strong national defense, free enterprise, and traditional values.” Through lecture series, seminars, video presentations, firsthand documents, student programs, and historical exhibits – including a piece of the Berlin Wall and Reagan’s jeep – the center aims to serve as the heart of conservative activity on the West Coast. To that end, the foundation is calling for a West Coast branch of its National Journalism Center, which trains students in writing skills and how to break into mainstream media.