Ellen Marie Raghavan
Ellen Marie Raghavan
  • October 30, 1946 - September 6, 2017
  • Missouri City, Texas

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Dr. Ellen Marie (Weaver) Raghavan, was the only child born to the union of Martha U. (Lindsay) Weaver and George E. Weaver in Columbus, Ohio, on October 30, 1946. Ellen attended primary school in Houston, Texas and secondary schools in Houston and Stillwater, Oklahoma, where she was named a Varsity Scholar and was inducted into the National Honor Society. Ellen's childhood was filled with laughter and the companionship of her mother, who encouraged a love of travel and adventure. Ellen's talent for writing and communication mimicked that of her mother, whose preserved letters to Ellen remain a source of inspiration and joy for her relatives.
After Ellen graduated from C.E. Donart High School in Stillwater, Oklahoma, she enrolled into Texas Christian University, where she majored in English and Philosophy with a minor in Music Pedagogy. She excelled in her classes, and was inducted into the National Honor Society and Alpha Lambda Delta, the national freshman honor society. At the end of her freshman year, Ellen was selected from more than 20,000 applicants for a summer internship with the US Veterans' Affairs Committee, in Washington, D.C. The internship gave Ellen the opportunity to serve as a student advisor to help draft and promote the G.I. Bill in 1965. In 1966 and 1967, Ellen spent her junior year abroad, studying at International Christian University, in Tokyo, Japan. Her time in Japan was the beginning of her lifelong love of travel, cultural immersion, and foreign languages. While in Japan, Ellen learned to speak Japanese fluently, and engaged her burgeoning aptitude for instruction as she taught English as a Second Language at the Kamata Girls' Junior High School in Tokyo. In 1968, Ellen graduated cum laude from Texas Christian University with University Honors in English. She was also inducted into Phi Sigma Tau, the Philosophy National Honor Society.
After TCU graduation, Ellen was awarded a Fulbright scholarship to study in India. Ellen taught American Literature, M.A. level and English language and literature, B. A. level at Nagpur University in Nagpur India. She also fed her love of learning while studying classical Indian music as an individual research practicum.

Ellen learned to play classical Indian music (Sarod) with Smt. Sharan Rani, one of India's foremost professional musicians of the time. She also studied Indian vocal music in New Delhi, India, with Vinay Bharat Ram.

Ellen honed her budding talent as an educator while holding various positions at schools in India: Ellen served as director of a summer preschool program for children 3-5 years old, taught music at the Woodstock School in Mussorie, India; she taught Hindi, grades 1-6, at the American International School (which later became the American Embassy School), where she developed language curriculum for Hindi, French, Spanish, and English as a Second Language in the elementary school. Ellen taught World Music, grades 7-12 at the American Embassy School, where she also directed and produced several multi-media musical productions at various grade levels. She also taught piano technique, original composition, and theory in private and group sessions.

In the years after her college graduation, Ellen also gave several lectures and demonstrations on the music of India to various audiences. In 1975, she performed Indian classical music during a recital for the President of India, Premier Minister Indira Gandhi, and the President of Afghanistan at Rastrapati Bhavan (the President's palace) in New Delhi.

Ellen continued to flourish in a new phase of life. As a host family for the Fulbright program in Nagpur, India, Ellen met her future husband's family first, before she even met and fell in love with Ragu. In May, 1971, Ellen married Ragu Raghavan. The Raghavans moved to Houston in 1975. In August of the same year, Ellen continued her professional career as a post-secondary teacher as a lecturer and teaching fellow at the University of Houston, University Park (U of H). Her service at U of H would include roles as writing lab instructor and consultant. In October 1975, Ellen and Ragu joyfully welcomed a daughter, Anjuli.

In May of 1978, Ellen completed the graduate study that she began in India. Her thesis, Hindu Influences in the Works of Henry David Thoreau, capped her Master of Arts in English program at U of H.

The following year, the Raghavans were thrilled to welcome a son, David, in October 1979. Ellen began her career at Houston Community College (HCC) in June 1983. During her 29 years at HCC, Ellen served as an instructor, lead instructor, and Interim Technical Communication Department Head. She trained instructors, wrote grant proposals, and designed and provided instruction in various curricula, including Electronic Publishing, Multimedia, Technical Writing, and Web Design.

In May 1984, Ellen completed her dissertation, Irony in the Works of Ruth Prawar Jhahwala, and was awarded a Doctor of Philosophy in English from U of H.

As evidence of her love of learning, teaching, and communicating, Ellen demonstrated degrees of fluency and proficiency in French, Spanish, Japanese, Hindi, Latin, German, Sanskrit, Urdu, and several other languages.

Ellen published several articles, including "Chromosomal Aberrations in Mammalian Cells" in National Junior Academy of Sciences Journal in 1961; "Hindu Influences in A Week on the Concord and Merrimack Rivers" in American Literature in March 1979; and "Wheels for the Mind", about the Houston Community College Desktop Publishing Program, the first Desktop Publishing Certificate Program developed for higher education in 1986.

Ellen retired from HCC in 2012, giving her more time to enjoy travel, visits with her mother in Georgetown, Texas, exploring weekend festivals in small Texas towns, reading books that are not candidates for inclusion on a syllabus, and reveling in the company of family and friends.

On September 6, 2017, Ellen passed away at home. She leaves a legacy of achievement, independence, and determination. Her passion for pedagogy and her love for knowledge and discovery are exceeded only by her deep love for her children, family, and friends.