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.