In the spring of 1986 (when I was in the fifth grade), I earned the Presidential Academic Fitness Award.

Presidential Academic Fitness Award

Other than good grades and perhaps a good standardized test score from the time, I don't remember exactly what I did to earn this achievement.

As you can see, Ronald Reagan's signature is in the bottom right hand corner.

Is that his real signature?

It seems like there were at least 50 other kids in my one Elementary School that earned this achievement. Doing a little math for nation-wide achievers makes it seemed pretty far-fetched. However, just wanted to ask.

  • 1
    My little brother has the same award "signed" by Bill Clinton.
    – Sam I Am
    Apr 24, 2012 at 18:04
  • 2
    @SamIAm hope he got the commemorative lapel pin that came with it. I wear that thing 24/7.
    – ray023
    Apr 24, 2012 at 19:31
  • 2
    No these forms were sent to schools en mass. The signature is put on there by the printer not even the auto pen suggested below. They were handed out for reaching certain scores on standardized tests. Your name was added to a list of students on a form your school filled out that was sent the the DOE and likely filed never to be read again. Reagan my have signed the original that was duplicated by the DoE and distributed to schools so it may be a facsimile of the signature.
    – Chad
    Sep 14, 2012 at 16:48

1 Answer 1


The answer is going to depend a bit upon how you want to define "real signature". The ink on the page was almost certainly created using an autopen such as the Model 80 by DAMILIC. The Autopen has been in use for presidential signatures since Eisenhower and the general rule of thumb is that if it's a form letter with a signature, it's almost certainly an autopen signature.

enter image description here

To come back to the part about depending on if it is a real signature or not. A pen is used and the signature is based upon a template so it may be a real signature from the standpoint of not being a printed signature, but may not be the same as it may or may not carry the same force of law as an actual signature affixed by a person.

  • 7
    Based on the final link, it sounds like we won't know if @ray023 was really recognized for an (alleged) outstanding achievement until that signature on the (claimed) certificate is properly tested through the courts. Looks like the White House is lawyered up, Ray, so expect a big legal stoush. :-)
    – Oddthinking
    Apr 24, 2012 at 22:59

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .