Victor M. Agruso, Jr.

Professor Emeritus

Dr. Agruso had a rewarding undergraduate educational experience, obtaining degrees in psychology and English from Xavier University in Cincinnati. He continued his graduate studies at that institution and acquired a master's degree in counseling. His doctorate is in the field of psychology, where Dr. Agruso specialized in experimental psychology. He completed post doctoral work at Stanford University and published in a array of prestigious journals, such as the British Journal of Psychology. Dr. Agruso was especially fascinated by the works of B.F. Skinner, and much of his research was devoted to testing hypotheses derived from Skinner's theoretical concepts. While teaching at Drury, he was an active faculty mentor to students completing undergraduate research projects, as well as honors studies.

While Dr. Agruso remained a popular advisor and teacher throughout his career at Drury, he was also a respected administrator. Dr. Agruso became Chair of the Psychology Department in 1976 and remained Chair when sociology joined psychology in 1977 to form the Department of Behavioral Sciences. In 1978, he successfully launched a degree program in criminology, and in 1997, his proposal for master's degrees in criminology and criminal justice was implemented. Upon retirement in September, 2000, Dr. Agruso held the Chair position, and he served as Director of the graduate program. Not only is the Department of Behavioral Sciences, which was conceived and developed through the visionary efforts of Dr. Agruso, the sole interdisciplinary department formed in the 1970s that still exists, it is the second largest department in the day school and the largest when considering enrollments in Continuing and Graduate Studies.

Dr. Agruso attributes his success to several factors. First, he praises administrators for recognizing and empowering planning that is rooted in interdisciplinarity. They allowed him to move forward in his efforts to plug into the natural affinity of criminology, psychology, and sociology. Interrelationships among these disciplines became further defined/refined over the years because of the faculty Dr. Agruso employed and the spirit de corps of the department. The department maintained the empirical/scientific approach to the disciplines and engaged in scholarly activity, producing publishable research from the beginning. This commitment to scholarship, in turn, fostered high level teaching. Dr. Agruso noted that that department consistently ranks at or near the top among Drury faculty in terms of teaching and scholarly output. Sound teaching and scholarship, of course, attract quality students to the department, where they acquire a comprehensive understanding of human behavior. These factors have led to a flourishing department and impressive student and alumni accomplishments.

Dr. Agruso's wife, Ramona, is also affiliated with Drury. Before completing a specialization in educational administration from Southwest Missouri State University and a doctorate of education from Vanderbilt University, she obtained both undergraduate and master's degrees in education from Drury. While Dr. Agruso began her career as a special education teacher, she was soon appointed Director of Education for the Springfield Regional Center for the Developmentally Disabled. She joined the Springfield Public School System, teaching fifth and sixth grade, learning disabled students, and she served as Principal at Robberson and Mark Twain Elementary Schools. Under her tenure as Principal, both schools were recipients of local, state, and national awards/recognition. Upon retirement from the school system, Dr. Agruso became a faculty/consultant for Drury's Department of Education. She had previously begun as a teaching adjunct for that department.            

Additionally, Dr. Agruso formed the Professional Development Partnership, The Open Door Consultants, LLC, and provided workshops throughout Missouri and in Kentucky. From 1998-2000, she facilitated the Missouri School Improvement Process for Springfield Public Schools, for which the district won state approval.

Although both Dr. Agrusos have officially retired, their list of activities suggest that they remain highly active in their community. They attend church regularly, where Ramona serves as a lector. Both are involved in the Retired and Senior Volunteer Program of St. John's County (RSVP), and they golf three or four days a week, travel extensively, and entertain visitors, particularly their children and grandchildren. They are also avid readers. If the Agrusos are not volunteering or engaging in one of these activities, you are likely to find Victor working crossword puzzles, anagrams, etc, while Ramona will likely be gardening, playing the piano, or enjoying her needlework.

Education
B.A., Xavier University, 1962
M.Ed., Xavier University, 1965
Ph.D., University of Missouri-Columbia, 1971

Drury University faculty member since 1967
Professor Emeritus since 2000