Ronald Reagan signed my UCLA graduation diploma in 1973. He was at the end of a successful eight-year term as governor. UCLA, like most universities, was in turmoil in the early 70s, and Reagan constantly spoke out against disruptive campus behavior. But, the UC system was in its glory years for growth and funding. My college year cost less than $1,000.
Reagan was 61 when he signed my diploma, and in eight years would take the oath of office as the oldest president elected at 69. In California in 1975, he was replaced by the state’s youngest governor, Jerry Brown, then 36 years old – now the eldest at 71.
Reagan beat Pat Brown, Jerry’s father, to launch the conservative movement in California in 1966 shortly after his Goldwater speech in the 1964 presidential campaign. He then took the conservative movement to power in Washington. Our domestic politics is still largely shaped by the issues related to the size and reach of government that he defined.
He lived to see the success of his foreign policy goal of the defeat and replacement of the Soviet Communism. Although the struggle between democracy and authoritarianism continues.
Clearly, Reagan is the standout president since Roosevelt.