We learned from our parents that individuals determine their own destiny; that is, it's largely their own ambition and hard work that determine their fate in life.Ronald Reagan Ronald Reagan, (with "Dutch" haircut) Neil Reagan, and parents Jack and Nelle Reagan. Family Christmas card circa 1916-1917. The early life of Ronald Reagan was strongly influenced by lessons he learned from his parents John (Jack) Edward Reagan and Nelle Wilson Reagan; his father's self-reliance, his mother’s determination, the foundation of the man who would become our 40th President. Born on February 6, 1911, in the rural town of Tampico, Illinois, Reagan was given the nickname “Dutch” by his father, who believed he looked like “a fat little Dutchman” when he was born. The nickname stuck with him until the age of 26 when he began his movie career. In 1920, the family moved to Dixon, Illinois, which he always considered his hometown and where his love for the outdoors flourished. After high school, Ronald Reagan attended Eureka College, a small liberal arts college where he earned a bachelor of arts in economics and sociology. Reagan was extremely active during his college years leading up to his graduation in 1932; he was part of the football, swimming and track teams and a member of the student senate and school yearbook. Gallery Overview Bible Belonging to Nelle Reagan used at both inaugurations open to II Chronicles 7:14 with a note from Nelle "A most wonderful verse for healing the nations."