DBU Hosts The Enduring Legacy of Ronald Reagan


As a part of the Institute for Global Engagement Leadership Lecture Series, the Dallas Baptist University Gary Cook School of Leadership hosted The Enduring Legacy of Ronald Reagan on February 6, 2016.

Dr. Adam Wright, vice president and dean of the Cook School of Leadership, began the program by speaking on the influence of Ronald Reagan and introducing the evening's speakers.

The event featured Dr. Jim Broaddus, former commanding officer of the Presidential Retreat at Camp David, and Dale Petroskey, former assistant press secretary to President Reagan. Both spoke on their roles during the Reagan administration and the unique moments they were able to experience with the President and First Lady.

"Rarely have I experienced such fine people," remarked Broaddus in regards to both President and Mrs. Reagan. "They operated humbly and without fanfare and represented what real servant leadership is."

"President Reagan was pragmatic and principled, but also incredibly empathetic, hospitable, and humble," explained Petroskey.

Both gentlemen shared story after story of the Reagans, including anecdotes about movie nights in their home at Camp David and the very worn Bible that always lay open on Reagan's bedside table during his stays.

Following their individual remarks, Broaddus and Petroskey participated in a panel discussion facilitated by Dr. Jim Denison, co-founder of the Denison Forum of Truth and Culture. Dr. Denison asked questions regarding principles that Reagan embodied, wisdom that he shared, and his leadership around the context of faith.

"I think he must have had the phrase 'what would Jesus do?' ringing in his ears" stated Broaddus, "because that is the way he treated everyone he came into contact with."

"Reagan understood the American people in an incredibly unique way," expressed Petroskey. "He did not need a briefing book to tell him what to believe in."

The event concluded with final personal stories about the Reagans from both individuals, all of which pointed back to his strong character, servant leadership, and steady faith.

Dr. Jim Broaddus currently serves as president and founder of Broaddus and Associates and is also chairman of a Texas-based construction firm, FJW Construction. Throughout his career, Broaddus has led in a variety of positions, including director of the Office of Facilities Planning and Construction for the University of Texas System and Chairman of the Board of Directors for the National Institute of Building Sciences. During his 20-year career in the U. S. Navy Civil Engineer Corps and Seabees, Broaddus had a unique assignment as Commanding Officer of the Presidential Retreat at Camp David for President Ronald Reagan. Jim and his wife, Kay, have two sons and six grandchildren.

Dale Petroskey currently serves as president and CEO of Dallas Regional Chamber and has held leadership positions in all three sectors - public, private, and non-profit - for more than 30 years in various capacities. During his time in The White House, Petroskey served as a spokesman for President Reagan and led the staff responsible for the preparation of every official White House document released to the media. In addition, he traveled extensively and accompanied the President to his historic first meetings with Soviet General Secretary Mikhail Gorbachev in Geneva, Switzerland, in November 1985, and in Reykjavik, Iceland, in October 1986. He also accompanied the President and Mrs. Reagan to Camp David on 10 different weekends. He and his wife, Ann, have been married for 35 years and have three grown children.

Written by Courtney Hackett

Courtney Hackett (Smith) served as the Assistant to the Vice President for Communications in the University Communications division at DBU.

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