A memorial service will be held Saturday, Aug. 25 at 10:30 a.m. at The Episcopal Church of the Ascension in Hattiesburg for Dr. Dana Ragsdale, professor emeritus in The University of Southern Mississippi School of Music, who died Aug. 1 at her residence. She was 66.
Ragsdale was a member of the Southern Miss faculty from 1974 until 2010, where she taught piano, harpsichord, and graduate courses in baroque performance practices. She founded the Southern Arts Pro Music, an ensemble featuring performances on original/period instruments of the Renaissance and Baroque musical periods.
Dr. Steven Moser, dean of the Southern Miss College of Arts and Letters, said his earliest memory of Ragsdale was of her attending marching band rehearsals after he joined the university as director of the Pride of Mississippi in 1990.
“She would come out to see the students, show support for a new faculty member and enjoy the spectacle that a marching band is,” Moser said. “She was a great friend to me, a dynamic, enthusiastic lover of life who was committed to USM and the hundreds of students she mentored over her long and illustrious career."
Ragsdale studied harpsichord with Denise Restout, Elaine Comparone, Eiji Hashimoto and Kenneth Cooper. Her reputation for excellence earned her invitations to perform with the Victoria (Texas) Bach Festival, Piccolo Spoleto Festival in Charleston, S.C., The Vivaldi Orchestra of Moscow during its 1993 debut tour of the U.S. the Fiati Chamber Players in New York, and Pont Lavoir, France, among others.
Her honors included the Higher Education Appreciation Day Working for Academic Excellence (HEADWAE) award from the Mississippi Legislature and an Excellence in Teaching Award from Southern Miss.
Memorials in Ragsdale’s honor may be made to the Ragsdale Scholarship Fund, c/o University of Southern Mississippi Foundation, 118 College Dr., #5210, Hattiesburg, MS 39406.