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A Portion Of The Berlin Wall Is At Reagan's Alma Mater In Illinois

This week marks 30 years since the Berlin Wall came down.  In Illinois, there are two locations where pieces of the wall are on public display.  

You can see a chunk of the wall at a Chicago CTA station.  Or in a more relaxed setting in a peace garden at Eureka College in Woodford County.  The college is the alma mater of President Ronald Reagan, who gave the famous directive to Soviet Leader Gorbachev to “tear down this wall.”

Shellie Schwanke is Director of the Ronald Reagan Society at Eureka.  She says the school is proud to have a piece of history.

“It’s a symbol of freedom. It was a symbol of oppression.  But now that it’s down, it just represents a great moment,” she said. 

Dr. Jamel Wright is the Eureka College President and said wall display draws a lot of people to campus. 

"We have a lot of people who plan road trips and have Eureka College listed as one of their stopping points along the way, specifically because of the piece of history we have on campus.”

But it's not just a tourist draw.  Wright said it aligns with the long history of the school, from its founding by abolitionists to being the first college in the state and only the third in the nation to educate men and women equally.   

A professor arranged for the school to receive a piece of the wall. Wright recalls how a forklift delivered it to it's current placement. 

In 2009, Mikhail Gorbachev visited the college and the wall display.  He was given an honorary degree.  

Hear the interview from the program Statewide

* Eureka College is planning a "Fall of the Wall" ceremony at 4 p.m. Friday November 8 with speakers and the Reagan Museum on the campus will also have a commemorative exhibit.  

Tim Shelley/WCBU /
Tim Shelley/WCBU /
Tim Shelley/WCBU /

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