Randy LaGrange

Randy LaGrange

Professor of Criminology / Bear Hall 224 / 910.962.3433 / lagrange@uncw.edu



1983 Ph.D. Sociology, Rutgers University

1980 M.A. Sociology, University of Toledo

1979 B.S. Criminal Justice, University of Toledo

1977 A.A. Law Enforcement, University of Toledo

            I was born and raised in Toledo, Ohio, located on the western edge of Lake Erie. Growing up I found myself on the receiving end of my dad’s boot and the principal’s paddle more often than I would like to remember. Thankfully, the important people in my life cared enough about me to try to set me straight (see Proverbs 13:24). I guess that was the beginning of my interest in crime and delinquency.

            I was an ok student but didn’t enjoy school. I never planned on going to college. Police officers back then, which is what I wanted to be, seldom headed to college. But I did attend the local community college to study law enforcement. When I finished my AA degree there were no local police officer jobs available. So I continued going to college and received my BA in Criminal Justice. By this time I found myself truly enjoying school and learning about people and society. My favorite undergraduate sociology professor, Dr. James King (we called him “King James”), sat down next to me in the cafeteria one day to have lunch and “shoot the breeze.” I didn’t think he even recognized me from his large class, but he did. Isn’t it amazing how one chance encounter by someone who took the time to reach out to a shy undergraduate student can change everything? Anyways, he encouraged me to reconsider police work for a living and to think seriously about grad school in sociology. So I did. I earned the MA in Sociology from the University of Toledo (thanks Dr. King!) and a Ph.D. from Rutgers University (go Scarlet Knights!).

            For over three decades I have been here at UNCW where I teach and do research in criminology. Cely, my lovely wife of 34 years, is a kindergarten teacher. We have two sons. The oldest son lives in Raleigh with his wife. He works as a chemical engineer and she is a stay-at-home mom with our grandchildren. Our youngest son lives and works here in Wilmington.  He recently graduated from UNCW with a degree in chemistry. Our family belongs to Windermere Presbyterian Church where I serve as a church elder. Professional interests: police policy, perceptions of crime, juvenile delinquency, and sport in society. Favorite pastimes: tinkering in my workshop, mowing the lawn, and playing golf. FORE!

            I hope to have the opportunity to sit down next to you someday over lunch and shoot the breeze.


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