LOS ANGELES--Wednesday, March 17, 2010-- The Ronald Reagan Presidential Foundation and GE announced today a partnership supporting the two-year-long celebration for President Reagan’s 100th birthday on February 6, 2011. GE, where Reagan hosted General Electric Theater and served as a goodwill ambassador from 1954 to 1962, will serve as the Presenting Sponsor of the historic Reagan Centennial Celebration.
“Looking back now, I realize it wasn’t a bad apprenticeship for someone who’d someday enter public life,” President Reagan wrote in his memoirs, “. . . the GE tours became almost a graduate course in political science.”
Former First Lady Nancy Reagan said, “I want to personally thank Jeff Immelt and everyone at General Electric who did so much for my husband. The opportunity to represent GE back in the 1950’s, and the encouragement he received from the employees he met along the way, really launched Ronnie’s career in public service. I know he would be honored by this tribute.”
GE’s participation as Presenting Sponsor of the Ronald Reagan Centennial Celebration includes:
- $10 Million in the form of cash, advertising and promotion to support the Ronald Reagan Centennial Celebration, including funds to support the completely transformed, state-of-the-art Museum at the Reagan Library that will be unveiled on February 5, 2011. This will include a new General Electric Theater that will focus on Reagan’s career in radio, television, and film.
- An additional $5 million to the Reagan Presidential Foundation to launch and support the GE-Reagan Scholars Program, an effort that will begin in 2011 and that will provide 200 four-year college scholarships over the next decade to deserving students who embody the vision and values personified by President Reagan.
- A donation from GE/NBC Universal to the Reagan Foundation of 208 restored episodes of General Electric Theater inwhich Ronald Reagan hosted or appeared from 1954-1962. The episodes, many of which were thought to be lost and some of which were damaged, were recently uncovered and restored to broadcast quality for purposes of the renovated Reagan Museum.
- An ad campaign and interactive Internet presence located at www.ge.com/reagan to promote the Centennial and honor President Reagan’s service to our nation and time with GE. TV, radio and print advertisements in support of the Centennial that will remind audiences of Reagan’s optimistic spirit as well as his legacy at both GE and as President can be found on this site.
- A series of public affairs lectures with Reagan-era luminaries that will focus on President Reagan’s legacy and qualities as a leader. The events will take place at venues around the country with details to be announced in the coming months.
GE Chairman and CEO Jeff Immelt said, “GE has been associated with many exceptional leaders over the years, and we are proud to count Ronald Reagan among them. President Reagan helped our company expand its reach during a golden age of American technological progress. He embodied the optimistic and innovative spirit of our company, and later successfully carried those qualities with him to the White House. We are proud to honor the 100th anniversary of Reagan’s birth and believe, as President Reagan did, that America’s best days are still ahead of her.”
From 1954 through 1962, Ronald Reagan worked for GE as host of a weekly television series, General Electric Theater, and traveled as a GE spokesman to 139 GE plants meeting more than 250,000 employees. As part of each episode, Reagan highlighted the work of these employees by promoting GE products like automatic dishwashers and electric can openers, products that were transforming American homes with the era’s emerging technologies. Reagan punctuated each spot with GE’s tag line at the time: “Progress is Our Most Important Product.”
Today, GE employs 150,000 American workers and is the 6th largest corporation in the world. Consistently lauded by outside sources such as BusinessWeek and FORTUNE magazines for principles considered core to President Reagan himself, GE has been ranked among the world’s best companies for leaders, as one of Fast Company’s most innovative, and as one of GI Jobs magazine’s top military friendly employers while consistently scoring well as one of the best places to launch a career.
“We are proud to be standing with an organization that facilitated a laboratory for learning so many of the values Ronald Reagan drew from as President – leadership, entrepreneurism, and optimism to name a few,” said Frederick J. Ryan, Jr., Chairman of the Reagan Foundation’s Board of Trustees. “It is a testament to those enduring principles that GE remains as much a part of the American fabric today as it was when President Reagan began work there in 1954.”
In addition to the events, initiatives, and programs planned for the Centennial, the Reagan Presidential Foundation today also unveiled its “Reagan Centennial Legacy Campaign,” an effort to leave a number of lasting contributions that will benefit working Americans and aspiring students long after the 100th birthday celebration is over. Ronald Reagan always believed that America’s best days were ahead. As part of his Centennial Celebration, imaginative and forward-leaning companies like GE are launching initiatives to invest in education, entrepreneurs, and the next generation of leaders that are at the heart of the American economy. GE is the first to respond to the Reagan Centennial Legacy Campaign, and has done so in a significant way by donating $5 million in college scholarship funds.
“The college scholarship funds provided by GE today are going to make a positive difference in the lives of hundreds of aspiring students,” said John Heubusch, executive director of the Reagan Foundation. “This is precisely the type of corporate leadership and vision President Reagan encouraged and his Foundation is pleased to team up with GE as a founding partner in this effort.”
Ronald Reagan Presidential Foundation Centennial Celebration – is a historic two-year-long celebration to commemorate the 100th birthday of the 40th President of the United States of America, Ronald Reagan. Visit www.reagancentennial.com to learn more. The mission of the Reagan Presidential Foundation is to preserve and promote his legacy of inspired freedom.
GE (NYSE: GE) is a diversified infrastructure, finance and media company taking on the world’s toughest challenges. From aircraft engines and power generation to financial services, medical imaging, and television programming, GE operates in more than 100 countries and employs about 300,000 people worldwide. For more information, visit the company's Web site at www.ge.com.