Ronald Ragsdale passed away unexpectedly on Thursday, January 16, 2020 at his home in Draper, Utah. He came as an assistant professor in 1963 and was promoted to full professor in 1972. He will be warmly remembered for his extensive and passionate teaching as well as for establishing the annual Faraday Lectures back in 1981. The Lectures continue to entertain over a thousand of local kids, students, and parents each year every December.
Ron taught over 50,000 undergraduate students, 4,000 high school students, 2,000 summer enrichment students, and more than 100 high school teachers. He and his wife, Eileen, continue to champion students and education. They established the Ronald & Eileen Ragsdale Endowed Chair in Chemical Education to allow the Department of Chemistry to hire and maintain a faculty member who's research is dedicated to investigating and implementing teaching practices that ensure the best possible experience for students. The couple has also established scholarships that will continue to support students who are in need of tuition support and are excelling in their studies.
During his 49-year career in the Department of Chemistry, he is recognized for initiating three groundbreaking educational outreach programs that have distinguished the university's chemistry department from its peers: The Summer High School Chemistry Enrichment Program, a university/high school cooperative Advanced Placement Lab program, and the annual Faraday Lectures. The Summer High School Chemistry Enrichment program began in 1973, and Ragsdale would invite guest speakers to deliver symposiums twice a week to cover diverse topics from Shakespeare to current political elections as well as a broad range of scientific disciplines.
With his devotion to chemical education, Ron instituted a chemistry demonstration program in the spirit of Michael Faraday in 1981, ably assisted by Dr. Jerry Driscoll, one of Ron's former students. Together, they entertained and educated crowds of serveral thousand community members--particularly high school chemistry students.
Ron's impact on the Department of Chemistry is far-reaching and ongoing. You can read his obituary here.
If you would like to make a donation in Ron Ragsdale's honor, you can click through
the link below:
Ragsdale Endowed Scholarship in Chemistry