Reagan had several nicknames growing up. His parents and friends called him “Ronnie,” since he was a chubby little boy with a Dutch boy haircut. As he got older he had the nickname of “Dutch” because of his Dutch boy haircut.
As an adult he got the nickname of the "Gipper" when he played the leading role in “Knute Rockne, All American" in 1940, portraying George Gipp, a football player at the University of Notre Dame from 1917 to 1920 who developed a throat infection and died a few weeks later at the age of 25. Gipp told Coach Rockne on his deathbed,
"Some time, Rock, when the team is up against it, when things are wrong and the breaks are beating the boys - tell them to go in there with all they've got and win just one for the Gipper. I don't know where I'll be then, Rock. But I'll know about it, and I'll be happy."
Reagan was known to have persevered to do his best in all things, characteristics of George Gipp, another reason that Reagan was called the "Gipper."