Brian Abel Ragen, PhD | Emeritus Professor of English 

Brian Ragen was inspired to teach and study literature due to his aunt who became his guardian after his parents passed away. His aunt was a professor of history at San Diego State University and helped encourage and instill this passion in him. Since 2013, Dr. Ragen has been an emeritus professor of Southern Illinois University. He taught at the institution for more than 13 years as a professor. He had also taught at the institution earlier in his career, between 1988 to 1993, starting as an assistant associate professor and later becoming a full professor. He taught at Bryn Mawr College, and additionally served as a lecturer at Princeton University. Prior to embarking on his own career in academia, Dr. Ragen earned a PhD from Princeton University in 1987, a Master of Arts from Princeton University in 1983, and a Bachelor of Arts from Pomona College in 1980.

The highlight of Dr. Ragen’s career was being the editor of scholarly journal papers on language and literature from 1992 to 2008. Other highlights included establishing scholarships and fellowships at Pomona College, Princeton University, Fontbonne University and William Penn University. Furthermore, teaching the survey course and seeing students become excited about the great tradition of English American literature for the first time has stood out to him.

Dr. Ragen published the works “Tom Wolfe, A Critical Companion” in 2002 and “A Wreck on the Road to Damascus” in 1989. Throughout his career, he served as a contributor to numerous articles on heraldry, hymnity and literary canon to popular and professional publications. In 2009, his achievements were recognized with the Design Award: The Best Heraldic Design of the Year from the American Heraldry Society.

On a civic level, Dr. Ragen has participated in myriad ventures. Since 2017, he has served as a treasurer for the St. Louis Cathedral Concerts, and since 2015, as the Coordinator for Organizing Groups of Volunteers with the St. Louis Fisher House. During that same time, he has been a trustee at Fontbonne University since 2015. He has served as a board member for the Field House Museum for more than 20 years, at St. Louis Coordinator and volunteer for the In-home Visitor Program with the Order of St John, St. John’s Volunteer Corps through St. Louis VA Medical Centers since 2014. Looking toward the future, Dr. Ragen endeavors to continue his civic roles along with many others.

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