The United States Sports Academy is mourning the loss of former U.S. First Lady Nancy Davis Reagan, who died 6 March 2016 at the age of 94.
Nancy Reagan was a trusted adviser to her husband, President Ronald Reagan, and she championed many important causes during his two terms in the White House. Her most visible efforts related to the prevention of recreational drug abuse through her “Just Say No” drug awareness campaign.
The Academy developed a special bond with the Reagans, as one of its top annual awards is named after President Reagan and bears his likeness.
Ronald Reagan was an athlete and sports announcer in his home state of Illinois before becoming a movie actor. He married fellow actor Nancy Davis, who was originally from New York. After his acting career, he went into politics. He served as Governor of California from 1967 to 1975. He then served two terms as President of the United States, winning the elections in 1980 and 1984, and serving from 1981 to 1989. Reagan remains one of the most popular presidents in United States history.The Academy’s Ronald Reagan Media Award, named in honor of the 40th President of the United States, is presented to an individual for outstanding contributions to sport through broadcasting, print, photography, or acting. The award is given to an individual who exhibits imagination, excitement, and genius in kindling a keen public interest and appreciation for the role of sport in modern society. The award Medallion features the image of President Reagan. It is part of the Academy’s Awards of Sport program and been given to a wide range of distinguished individuals annually since 1984.
Dr. Thomas P. Rosandich, the Academy’s first President and current President Emeritus, remembers President Reagan fondly.
“President Ronald Reagan had a great sense of humor and would often talk about funny incidents in his early radio broadcasting career,” Rosandich recalls.
“This included a story when he was announcing a baseball game by telephone but was not at the game. The phone line failed and he kept announcing the game, stating later that his broadcast was limited only by his imagination.”
The Reagans, who had two children, retired to their home in Bel Air, Los Angeles, Calif., in 1989. Nancy Reagan devoted most of her time to caring for her husband, who was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease in 1994, until his death at the age of 93 in 2004. She remained active within the Reagan Library and in a range of causes until her recent passing.