Demonstrating expertise in academia and literary studies, Dr. Brian Abel Ragen has been recognized as an emeritus professor of English at Southern Illinois University Edwardsville. First joining the prestigious university in 1988, he served as an assistant professor, associate professor and full professor of English until 1993. Earlier in his career, Dr. Ragen served Bryn Mawr College as a lecturer from 1986 to 1987, as well as Princeton University as a lecturer between 1984 and 1988. Notably, during his time at Southern Illinois University Edwardsville, he returned to his lectures at Bryn Mawr College, having taught as an assistant, associate and full professor. Likewise, Dr. Ragen was a visiting professor at Hong Kong Baptist University in China in 2010.
Dr. Ragen’s career flourished following his own collegiate studies, having previously studied at Pomona College. Receiving a Bachelor of Arts in 1980, he then attended Princeton University and earned a Master of Arts in 1983 and a Doctor of Philosophy in 1987. To this end, Dr. Ragen was heavily influenced by the career of his aunt, who served as not only a loving family member but also a professor of history at San Diego State University. As a result of his aunt’s profession, Dr. Ragen, too, desired to enter the field of academia. Coupled with his passion and appreciation for literature, he subsequently embarked upon a career in the industry.
Outside of his primary vocational duties, Dr. Ragen has lent his time to Fontbonne University as a trustee, the Field House Museum and St. Louis Cathedral Concerts as a board member, and the Department of Veterans Affairs as a volunteer, having donated over 300 hours to the department. Likewise, Dr. Ragen is a member of the Knight of Justice Order of St. John, which bestowed upon him the Service Medal of the Order of St. John in 2022. This accolade included three clasps, representing his 25 years of excellent service. Furthermore, Dr. Ragen served as the editor of a scholarly journal paper on language and literature between 1992 and 2008 and founded scholarships and fellowships at his alma maters, as well as at Fontebonne University and William Penn University.
A prolific writer, as well as a dedicated music enthusiast, Dr. Ragen produced the music album “Words to Music: Songs of Eugene Field featuring Christine Brewer and Scott Kennebeck” in 2018. Additionally, he wrote the book “A Wreck on the Road to Damascus” in 1989 and the paper “Tom Wolfe: A Critical Comparison” in 2002. Contributing his expertise to several other articles on such topics as heraldry, hymnity and literary canon, he earned the 2009 Design Award: Best Heraldic Design of the Year from the American Heraldry Society.
Looking toward the future, Dr. Ragen intends to work on additional revisions to traditional hymns in modern hymnals. He was selected for inclusion in the 23rd edition of Who’s Who in the Midwest in 1992.