All Press Releases for June 29, 2023

Professor Brian Abel Ragen, PhD Recognized for Years of Distinguished Service

Dr. Ragen has written on a wide variety of topics and has several areas of special expertise

He is a life member of the Association of Literary Scholars, Critics and Writers, the American Studies Association, and the Conference on Christianity and Literature.

    ST. LOUIS, MO, June 29, 2023 /24-7PressRelease/ -- Professor Brian Abel Ragen, PhD has been included in Marquis Who's Who. As in all Marquis Who's Who biographical volumes, individuals profiled are selected on the basis of current reference value. Factors such as position, noteworthy accomplishments, visibility, and prominence in a field are all taken into account during the selection process.

A native of San Diego who with a lifelong love of literature, Dr. Ragen was drawn to the field of education by his aunt Katherine Ragen, a professor of history at San Diego State University, who became his guardian after the passing of his parents, Harry Ragen, an attorney, and Helen Abel, a journalist and philanthropist. He earned a BA, cum laude, in English from Pomona College in Claremont, California in 1980. He continued his studies at Princeton University, where he began his decades of teaching. He was awarded an MA in 1982 and a PhD in 1987.

After several years as a lecturer at both Princeton and Bryn Mawr College, Dr. Ragen accepted a tenure-track position at Southern Illinois University Edwardsville and moved to St. Louis, Missouri. During his years at SIUE, Dr. Ragen rose from assistant to associate and finally full professor, and he was made Emeritus Professor of English upon his retirement in 2013. Besides teaching all periods of English and American Literature, he also taught the university's "Great Books" courses, as well as introductions to the Bible, Greek Mythology, and several literary genres. Outside the classroom, he worked as a scholarly editor, first as Assistant Editor of The Victorian Periodicals Review and then as editor of the distinguished journal Papers on Language & Literature from 1992 to 2008, Seeing PLL through the challenges presented by the digitalization of scholarship was among Dr. Ragen's proudest achievements. Dr. Ragen was twice selected as an American Mirror speaker by the Missouri Humanities Council and served as a visiting professor at Hong Kong Baptist University in 2019.

Dr. Ragen has written on a wide variety of topics and has several areas of special expertise. His first book, A Wreck on the Road to Damascus, published through Loyola University Press in 1989, was a study of Flannery O'Connor, and he continues to publish articles and deliver papers on her work. His second book, Tom Wolfe: A Critical Companion, published via Greenwood in 2002, explored a very different author. His published articles address subjects ranging from Biblical allusions in Chaucer to the traditional hymns in modern hymnals. He has published a major article on "Semiotics and Heraldry" that critiques modern literary theory as much as it applies its tenets to heraldry. Dr. Ragen's scholarship has often produced creative projects. His work as a heraldic designer won the American Heraldry Society's award for best design in 2009. His work on poetry and music has let to him arranging musical programs for several groups and producing a CD: Words to Music: Songs of Eugene Field, featuring Christine Brewer and Scott Kennebeck, through Field House Museum in 2018. He has also commissioned and chosen the texts for several music compositions, including three choral anthems for the Order of St. John, and setting of poems by Eugene Field and David Goldstein.

Dr. Ragen is a life member of the Modern Language Association of America, having formerly served as a member of its delegate assembly and executive coordinator of its American Literature Section in 1999 and 2006. He is also a life member of the Association of Literary Scholars, Critics and Writers, the American Studies Association, and the Conference on Christianity and Literature, on whose board he once served. He was co-founder of the American Religion & Literature Society, an affiliate of the American Literature Association. He belongs to several societies devoted to the study of heraldry.

Dr. Ragen has had a more substantial role in several cultural institutions headquartered in St. Louis. He is a secretary and a long-time member of the board of the Field House Museum and has played in a prominent role in its expansion and its programs. He has also served as a board member and sometimes officer of St. Louis Cathedral Concerts and the Friends of the Cathedral Basilica. Most importantly, Dr. Ragen serves as a member of the Board of Fontbonne University. Besides participating in the university's governance, Dr. Ragen has established scholarships and worked to revitalize the university's music program.

Many of Dr. Ragen's charitable efforts spring from his membership in three orders of chivalry. Dr. Ragen is a Knight Grand Cross of the Order of the Holy Sepulchre and furthered its mission of assisting the Church in the Holy Land in many ways. He became a Knight of Magisterial Grace of the Sovereign Military Order of Malta in 2019 and serves as a driver for Malta Mobile Ministries. His work providing assistance to the poor and sick during the pandemic was recognized by the Order of Malta's COVID-19 campaign medal in 2022. He has been a member of the Most Venerable Order of St. John since 1995 and has served it unceasingly. He was the first coordinator of the St. John Volunteer Corps in St. Louis and began its efforts to assist veterans through the Department of Veterans Affairs, His work has been recognized by the VA's pin for 750 hours of service. In 2022 he was decorated with the Service Medal of the Order of St. John with three silver clasps by H.R.H. The Duke of Gloucester. That award recognized 25 years in which Dr. Ragen devoted at least 60 hours to the works of the order.

Dr. Ragen serves on the board of the Archdiocese of St. Louis's Annual Catholic Appeal, and has been a supporter of The Cathedral Basilica of St. Louis, which is his own parish, and Kenrick-Glennon Seminary. In recognition of all his efforts, Dr. Ragen was named 2023 St. Louis Catholic Man of the Year by St. Joseph Media.

Dr. Ragen has received a number of other fellowships and awards and has been profiled in several Marquis Who's Who publications. He continues his charitable work in many ways. He remains an active scholar and hopes to complete work on a book on the revision of the hymnals and service books in the near future.

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Meet Professor Brian Abel Ragen, PhD