If you have an ACS member number, please enter it here so we can link this account to your membership. (optional)

ACS values your privacy. By submitting your information, you are gaining access to C&EN and subscribing to our weekly newsletter. We use the information you provide to make your reading experience better, and we will never sell your data to third party members.



Obituary: Ronald O. Ragsdale

by Linda Wang
March 28, 2020 | A version of this story appeared in Volume 98, Issue 12


Ronald O. Ragsdale, 88, died on Jan. 16 in Salt Lake City.

“At the University of Utah, Ron taught more than 50,000 undergraduate students, 4,000 high school students, and 2,000 summer enrichment students. He also mentored more than 100 high school chemistry teachers. His leadership brought the International Baccalaureate (IB) program to the US, and he served as chief examiner for both IB and Advanced Placement programs and helped create the US National Chemistry Olympiad competition. Ron’s passion for teaching was best evidenced by his creation and presentation of numerous chemical demonstrations. These action-packed and often explosive demonstrations were the foundation of his annual Faraday Christmas Lectures. Ron and his wife, Eileen, founded the Ragsdale Scholarship Endowment Fund, which provides scholarship support for chemistry majors and teaching awards, as well as the Ronald and Eileen Ragsdale Endowed Chair in Chemical Education.”—Tom Richmond, friend and colleague

Most recent title: Professor emeritus, University of Utah

Education: BS, chemistry, Brigham Young University, 1957; PhD, chemistry, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, 1960

Survivors: Wife, Eileen; daughters, Krista and Janice; son, Steven; 15 grandchildren; 18 great-grandchildren

To recognize your late loved one or colleague, submit obituary information at


This article has been sent to the following recipient:

Chemistry matters. Join us to get the news you need.