Robert L. DeProspero (‘59 BS, 61 MA)
Robert L. DeProspero graduated from West Virginia University with a bachelor’s degree in physical education in 1959 and a master’s degree in education in 1960. He served in the U.S. Air Force from 1960-63 then went on to teach biological sciences and coach football and wrestling at Madison High School in Vienna, Va.
DeProspero joined the U.S. Secret Service in 1965 and was first assigned as a special agent in the Washington Field Office with subsequent assignments in the White House Detail and the Protective Support Division.
In 1973, he was promoted to assistant to the special agent in charge of the Vice Presidential Protective Division. As he moved up the ranks in the Secret Service from 1975-82, he held many positions including assistant special agent in charge of the Washington Field Office, inspector in the Office of Inspection and deputy special agent in charge of the Presidential Protective Division.
DeProspero took charge of the presidential detail in 1981 just months after the attempted assassination of President Ronald Reagan and was appointed special agent in charge of the Presidential Protective Division in 1982.
During his tenure in that role, he was responsible for planning, organizing, coordinating and directing the protection of the President of the United States and members of his family at all times and under all conditions. DeProspero was also responsible for providing protection during one of the Secret Service’s largest and most complex security operations—the 1994 Presidential Campaign. He accompanied President Reagan on some of 500 domestic trips and 60 visits to foreign nations.
As a result of his numerous achievements, DeProspero was appointed assistant to the director in the Office of Training. In this capacity, he oversaw the training for Secret Service personnel in the Uniformed Division, the Special Agent Branch and the Treasury Protection Unit as well as all administrative and specialized units. He directed the administration of hundreds of courses and a $20 million expansion of the physical training facility.
DeProspero retired from the Secret Service in March of 1986. During his 20 years with the Secret Service, he made many significant and innovative improvements regarding protective measures. He spent more time than any other agent protecting officials including Dwight Eisenhower, Lyndon Johnson, Nelson Rockefeller, Edmund Muskie, Spiro Agnew, Gerald Ford, Jimmy Carter and Ronald Reagan.
Among his many awards are: U.S. Treasury Department Albert Gallatin Award, Special Recognition for the Establishment of the Presidential Trauma Protocol and Special Recognition for Improved Protective Security Measures. He was named the Outstanding West Virginia Italian-American in 1985 and was inducted into the WVU School of Physical Education Hall of Fame in 1992.