National Review / Digital
Education 2011: They Have Found Him
Eureka College discovers Ronald Reagan

Delivering the Eureka College commencement address in 1982 (Ronald T. Bennett/Bettmann/Corbis)


When Willie Sue Smith Stewart died on August 17 at the age of 101, she attracted a little more attention than the typical elderly black lady in small-town Texas. The obituaries all noted her accomplishments — a long career as a teacher, a progeny of eight grandchildren, and hitting the century mark — but the real interest for readers lay in her brush with fame: She was one of 41 graduates from Eureka College in 1932 and had been the final survivor of the class that included Ronald Reagan.

Eureka College put out a press release and sent two representatives to her funeral, which is not how this cash-strapped school usually behaves when a graduate dies. But Willie Sue was its last living link to the man who has mattered more to its reputation than any other — and the way the college treated her passing shows how fully it has tried to embrace its legacy as the alma mater of one of America’s great statesmen.


October 31, 2011    |     Volume LXIII, No. 20

  • Bobby Jindal is leading Louisiana’s revival.
  • Celebrating a remarkable Supreme Court tenure.
Books, Arts & Manners
  • Tracy Lee Simmons reviews James Madison, by Richard Brookhiser.
  • William Tucker reviews The Quest: Energy, Security, and the Remaking of the Modern World, by Daniel Yergin.
  • Michael Novak reviews The Most Controversial Decision: Truman, the Atomic Bombs, and the Defeat of Japan, by Wilson D. Miscamble, C.S.C.
  • Eli Lehrer reviews The Collapse of American Criminal Justice, by William J. Stuntz.
  • Ross Douthat reviews The Ides of March.
  • John Derbyshire laments the passing of ‘supererogate’ — and more.
The Long View  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  
Athwart  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  
Poetry  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  
Happy Warrior  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  
The Bent Pin  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .