Saints Spotlight: Velma Ragsdale '06
I knew that if I wanted to be successful in that environment then I was going to have to grow in certain areas of my life. It was a struggle and it took time. However, I got there.
- Velma Ragsdale '06
- Class of 2022
Saints meet alumna, Velma Ragsdale '06. Velma was very active with student government and social activism during her time as a student at Saint Martin's University. Dean of Students, Melanie Richardson shares, "[Velma] was one of the first students to courageously speak to ASSMU about a request for a service club for women of color. [She] was a trail blazer and yet so very gracious. "
Tell us about your experience as an African-American student at Saint Martin's University in the early 2000s.
When I reflect upon my experience at Saint Martin's University, I believe that it was truly about personal growth. Living in a small town and attending a Catholic Benedictine University required me to adjust to circumstances that were unfamiliar to me. Those things were not bad. They were different. I knew that if I wanted to be successful in that environment then I was going to have to grow in certain areas of my life. It was a struggle and it took time. However, I got there. Greek life is prominent in and important to the African American community, especially on the east coast and in the south. I wanted to provide the African American female students at Saint Martin's an opportunity to experience the rich sisterhood that results from being a part of a fraternal organization. This is what led me to start The Girlfriends Club at Saint Martin's. We had social activities for our members and participated in various service projects.
Where do you currently work?
I am the Catering Sales Manager for the George W. Bush Presidential Center in Dallas, Texas. I schedule and coordinate all private events such as conferences, galas, luncheons, and weddings. It is a special place that does amazing work. I am very honored to be a part of the "Bush Center". One of my most prominent events was attended by the President of Southern Methodist University and the former owner of American Airlines.
How has your time at Saint Martin's prepared you for your career?
Saint Martin's provided me the opportunity to coordinate and implement events. Although I had very little experience coordinating events, I quickly learned that I was good at it. Most of all, I discovered something that I loved doing. They say that one of the keys to building wealth is to earn a living doing something that you love.
Who is the person who influenced you the most at Saint Martin’s?
The person who influenced me the most was Dr. Katya Shkurkin. She was more than my professor. She was someone who nurtured and guided me throughout my academic journey.
What advice would you give to current students?
Enjoy your experience, because these are truly the best days of your life. Finish...even if you are a first generation student and/or a minority. Do not let circumstances and hardships stand in your way.
The Social Justice Program at Saint Martin’s University explores the complex nature of social justice and alternative venues that foster justice.
- Main (Lacey)
- Type of Instruction
- In Person