Diane Elizabeth Ragsdale, loving daughter of Mary Ellen Graves nee Schmitt (Carl) and the late Donald W. Ragsdale, was born on December 10, 1966, and passed away on January 12, 2024.
Diane is survived by her brothers, Michael Ragsdale (Mary Beth), Matthew Graves (Beth), Christopher Graves (Kandis), and Timothy Graves. Diane was aunt to Landon, Bailey, and Phoebe Graves, Maria Lewis, Matthew Ragsdale, Alyssa Carroll, Michael Ragsdale, Laura Ragsdale, and great-nephew, Cooper Ragsdale. She is preceded in death by her brother, Jonathan Graves. Diane cherished the years she spent in the Netherlands with Jaap Boter and his daughters, Flora and Sara, and their family.
Sanjit Sethi, President of Minnesota College of Art and Design, shared the following announcement with faculty and staff of the college:
It is with great sadness that I share the news that Diane Ragsdale, Director of Master of Creative Leadership (MACL), passed away suddenly at the age of 57. In the two years that Diane worked at MCAD, she moved mountains-leading and developing the successful new MACL program, and helping shape our college culture. She was a generous teacher, mentor, and leader to her students, deeply collaborative with her co-workers, and passionate advocate to her community partners.
Vice President of Academic Affairs Robert Ransick stated, "Diane was not only a dear friend, but also an inspiration to me and so many others within the MCAD community and far beyond. Her contributions to arts and culture in this country were profound and MCAD was incredibly fortunate to have her wisdom and vision as the first leader of the MACL program."
For the past 25 years, Diane's range of experiences and vast network within the arts and culture realm were a testament to her incredible talents, collaborative skills, and impact. From 2017 to 2020 she successfully built a new MA in Arts Management and Entrepreneurship for performance-based artists at The New School [New York]. While there, she launched a new Graduate Minor in Creative Cultural Development. In 2019 Diane was the Director at the Banff Center where she played a critical role in developing a philosophy of cultural leadership focused on culture change and truth and reconciliation. She was an Andrew W. Mellon Foundation program officer for theater and dance in New York City from 2005 to 2010, where she was able to partner with leaders of some of the nation's top theaters, dance companies, performing arts centers, orchestras, and opera companies. Diane led several important cultural institutions across the country and served on many high-profile boards.
Diane earned a BS in Psychology, BFA in Theater, and MFA in acting and directing. She completed an Executive MBA summer intensive at Stanford University Graduate School of Business; and she was a doctoral candidate at Erasmus University in Rotterdam.
A respected voice in the nonprofit arts and culture sector in addition to academia, Diane will be missed by so many.
If a contribution is preferred, it can be made to Minneapolis College of Art and Design, The Diane Elizabeth Ragsdale Memorial Scholarship Fund. Minneapolis College of Art and Design is located at 2501 Stevens Avenue, Minneapolis, Minnesota 55404 or online https://www.mcad.edu/support-mcad/give