Lieutenant Colonel Carmen D. Ragonese first entered the University of New Hampshire in 1942, and shortly thereafter, he enlisted in the Army Air Corps. He was called to active duty and served honorably from 1943-1946. He returned to the University of New Hampshire in 1946, joined Advanced ROTC, and graudated in 1949 with a Bachelor's degree in Sociology. Colonel Ragonese was designated a distinguished military graduate with a regular Air Force commission. A member of the first undefeated Wildcat football team, he was selected for All-New England, All-East, and Little All-American honors. He played professional football for the Baltimore Colts a short time before accepting a regular Air Force Commission.
Colonel Ragonese entered the Air Force in 1949, and he served as a Maintenance Officer first at Tyndall, then Nortan and Davis-Monthan Air Force bases. Later, he was assigned to command, management, administrative, and diplomatic positions supervising hundreds of military and civilian personnel. Colonel Ragonese attended the Air Force Institute of Technology at Wright-Patterson AFB and earned a Master of Science degree in Logistics Management in 1965. He remained at that base to serve as a member of a major Air Force command Inspecter General Management Team. In that capacity, he constantly traveled, inspecting and reviewing all aspects of management procedures.
While assigned to the US Embassy in Denmark, he advised and instructed in management techniques, material requirements, and financial accountability. Colonel Ragonese met with members of the foreign Diplomatic Corps and established management standards, operational procedures, and built rapport. He was a veteran of three wars: WWII, Korea, and Vietnam. He saw overseas duty in Japan, Okinawa, Germany, and Denmark. The final assignment of his 28-year career was at the Headquarters, Air Force Logistics Command. He served as Chief of Production Control and later Executive Officer to the Major General in charge of plans and operations.
Colonel Ragonese retired from the Air Force in 1973, and he was immediately selected as the Director of Alumni Affairs at the University of New Hampshire. He served his alma mater and fellow alumni for three years in this position. His leadership in raising funds and overseeing the building campaign resulted in the successful construction of the Elliott Alumni Center. The Director's Room and Office were later dedicated in his honor. From 1977-1984, Colonel Ragonese was Dean of the Extension Division of the New Hampshire Vocational-Technical College of Portsmouth/Stratham. He was inducted into the 100 Club, Athletic Hall of Fame in 1982.
He married the former Jean French of the class of '47, and all four of their children graduated from the University of New Hampshire. Colonel Ragonese died in 1984.