Gorbachev Visits Eureka College

By Gina Morss

July 15, 2010 Updated Mar 27, 2009 at 6:48 PM CST

As former Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev walks toward Eureka's Burrus– Dickinson Hall... the school's president shares a story with him about Reagan's college years here.

Reagan would run up the stairs two at a time to see his girlfriend who worked on the second floor.

It's hard not to feel nostalgic as Gorbachev enters the Reagan Peace Garden.

You can almost hear Reagan saying...

"Mr. Gorbachev tear down this wall."

Together Reagan and Gorbachev ended the Cold War.

The unlikely partners in peace, indeed, became friends.

Just outside the Ronald Reagan Museum, the 78–year–old Gorbachev reflects on how history will judge the pair.

Former Soviet Leader Mikhail Gorbachev said, "But no one can deny one very important thing, the cold war was ended, we started the process of eliminating nuclear weapons."

Eureka College Alum Annette Sherman is overcome with joy after shaking the former world leader's hand.

Eureka College Alum Annette Sherman said, "I know, I said, welcome, welcome, I didn't know what else to say."

I like America...

America likes you.

Chillicothe Resident Jack DeSatnick said, "America likes Mr. Gorbachev, if you go around and ask the vast majority of people, I really think they'll say, he's a man of integrity."

During a private tour of Eureka's Reagan Museum, we're told Gorbachev sits in the theater seats to take in a bit of "hellcats of the Navy," the only film Ronald and Nancy Reagan starred in together.

On the world stage, it was Reagan and Gorbachev who starred in an epic, ending the nuclear arms race.

After his campus tour, the guest of honor settled in for a town hall meeting where he received an honorary doctorate from the college and answered questions from students.

One student asked him what he thought of today's relationship between the U–S and Russia.

He says it's taken a step backwards and that a lot of Russians distrust America.

Tonight Mikhail Gorbachev is the keynote speaker at the Reagan Day Dinner at the Peoria Civic Center.

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