Russell P. Kropp was born in Tamaqua, Pennsylvania on July 11, 1927. He served in the U. S. Navy during World War II and later served in the U. S. Air Force. He received a research doctorate from the University of Illinois in 1953, and came to Tallahassee that year to accept a faculty position at Florida State University. During the next 42 years he served in a variety of faculty and administrative positions at FSU, spending many of those years associated with the Department of Educational Research and Testing within the College of Education.
Professor Kropp retired from the university in 1995. He died on April 18, 2012.
He is credited with having conceptualized the purpose and function of FERA, and was a leader in the effort to establish FERA as a state‐wide professional organization, circa 1956. Under his guidance, FERA was instituted on the premise that the myriad concerns facing schools are amendable to orderly, systematic inquiry, and that such inquiry can be nurtured and sustained through the collegial association of state and district‐based educators, university professors and personnel in private and non‐profit educational agencies. Dr. Kropp was the first editor of the Florida Journal of Educational Research, serving in that capacity from 1959 to 1964. He was one of only three individuals ever to serve twice as President of FERA, leading the organization as its first President in 1958‐59 and again in 1982‐83. Dr. Kropp has been an honorary member of the Florida Educational Research Association (FERA) since 1985.
FERA honored him by bestowing an annual award in his name. According to FERA By‐Laws, the Russell P. Kropp Award is given “to recognize a policy maker or administrator engaged in education in the State of Florida who has demonstrated in an exemplary fashion the use of educational research or evaluation in educational decision making.” Asked in 1999 about the role he played in the development of FERA, he replied “. . . it enriched my life. . . . I always thought it was a noble and good work.”