Former students and colleagues of Dr. Ronald Marquardt, a professor emeritus and chairman of The University of Southern Mississippi's Department of Political Science, remember him as a model teacher, faculty member and administrator.
Dr. Marquardt died Wednesday, May 15 at his home in Hattiesburg following a lengthy illness. He was 73.
Services will be held at St. Thomas Catholic Church, 117 W. 4th Street in Hattiesburg, on Saturday, May 18 at 10 a.m. Burial will follow at Highland Cemetery in Hattiesburg. Visitation will be Friday, May 17 from 5 p.m. to 7:30 p.m., at Forrest Funeral Home, located at 1258 Richburg Road in Hattiesburg.
A native of Pittsburg, Kan., Dr. Marquardt earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Pittsburg State University, where he played on the varsity tennis team and served as student body president in 1961. He earned a Ph.D. in political science from the University of Missouri in 1972, and a law degree, with distinction, from Mississippi College in 1982.
In 1973 Dr. Marquardt joined the faculty of Southern Miss, where he taught political science and constitutional law. In addition to serving as department chairman, he founded and directed its Paralegal Studies Program and served as student legal advisor and faculty representative to the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA). He is the co-author of the books Gifted Children & the Law and Gifted Children & Legal Issues in Education, published by Ohio Psychology Press (1991). He retired in 2003.
“Ron Marquardt had a remarkable impact at Southern Miss in several ways, but first of all and most importantly, he was a superb teacher,” said Southern Miss President Emeritus Dr. Aubrey Lucas. “Students liked him and he liked students. He was demanding yet open and friendly, and served this university fully, gladly, effectively and made a difference.”
In 1961, Dr. Marquardt was commissioned as a second lieutenant in the U.S. Army, stationed at Ft. Lee, Va. followed by two years of service in the National Guard. He was honorably discharged as a captain in 1965.
A lifelong St. Louis Cardinals fan and an avid tennis player, Dr. Marquardt was a founding member and former president of the Racquet Club in Hattiesburg. He continued to play tennis on U.S. Tennis Association teams until 2010.
Dr. Ed Wheat, a professor emeritus of political science at the university, was a fellow graduate student of Dr. Marquardt’s at Missouri. “From the viewpoint of working faculty, Ron was the best department chairperson imaginable,” Wheat said. “One of the best experiences of my life was when we were reunited at Southern Miss.”
Two of Dr. Marquardt’s former students, Subrina Cooper and William Newman, now serve as instructors for the department’s paralegal studies program. They also recall him for his devotion to the success of the department and its students.
“He was an outstanding professor, having taught me constitutional law during my early days at Southern Miss,” Cooper said. “We owe him a tremendous debt of gratitude for having the vision to found our paralegal program, which continues to thrive 35 years later.”
Newman said as much as he admired Marquardt for his skills at management and diplomacy as department chairman, he’ll remember him even more for his unfailing generosity. “I’ve never seen a boss or manager of any kind who was as good at building consensus as Ron was,” Newman said.
“But it’s the goodness of his heart that I will miss most. For decades he gave unselfishly of himself to students of all backgrounds, and his kindness extended equally to ‘A’ students and ‘D’ students. I particularly remember being inspired by his altruism when he used his law degree to assist students with legal concerns – for little or no pay.”
Dr. Marquardt is preceded in death by his parents, Paul and Marguerite Marquardt, and a sister, Patricia Marquardt. Survivors include his wife of 48 years, Susan Marquardt; two sons, Mark Marquardt (Hajira Majid) of Evanston, Illinois, and Rick Marquardt (Julianne) of Salt Lake City, Utah; three grandchildren: Adam, Alexandra Jane, and Katherine Hope; and a brother, Paul Donald Marquardt of Walton, Ky.
Dr. Marquardt was a member of the USM Foundation. Memorials may be made to the Ronald G. Marquardt Endowed Scholarship Fund at the University of Southern Mississippi, 118 College Drive, #5210, Hattiesburg, MS 39406-0001.