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On May 6, 2010, Larry Robinson was confirmed by the United States Senate as Assistant Secretary for Conservation and Management. at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). He attended LeMoyne-Owen College in 1975, graduated summa cum laude with a B.S. degree in chemistry from Memphis State University in 1979, and earned a Ph.D. degree in nuclear chemistry from Washington University in St. Louis in 1984.
Prior to this appointment Robinson served as the Vice President for Research at Florida A&M University (FAMU). He held other administrative posts at FAMU including Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs; Interim Chief Executive Officer; and most notably, from 1997 to 2003 Robinson served as the director of FAMU’s Environmental Sciences Institute where he led efforts to establish B.S. and Ph.D. degree programs and conducted environmental chemistry research in coastal ecosystems. Since 2001, he served as Director of NOAA’s Environmental Cooperative Science Center housed at FAMU.
In 2007, Robinson became the first African American to serve as Science Advisor to the United States Department of Agriculture’s Cooperative State Research, Education, and Extension Service (CSREES) where he served until 2009. In 2008 Robinson was selected to serve on the Oceans Research and Resources Advisory Panel (ORRAP) and as a founding member of the National Science Foundation’s National Ecological Observatory Network (NEON) Science Technology Education Advisory Committee. Previously, Robinson served as a research scientist and group leader at Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) during the period 1984 – 1997.
Professionally Robinson has served as chair of the Biology and Medicine Division of the American Nuclear Society; charter member of the Council of Environmental Deans and Directors; and treasurer and executive board member of the East Tennessee Chapter of the National Organization of Black Chemists and Chemical Engineers.
Robinson is a former member of the Board of Trustees of the Florida Chapter of the Nature Conservancy; the National Science Foundation’s National Ecological Observatory Network (NEON) Education Tiger Team; the Leon County Research and Development Authority; the Leon County Water Resources Committee; and Florida A&M University’s campus coordinator for Florida Sea Grant. He has served on numerous scientific advisory boards including the State of Florida Aquaculture Interagency Coordinating Committee; External Advisory Board of the Environmental Sciences Division, Oak Ridge National Laboratory; Florida Center for Environmental Studies, Florida Atlantic University; the Florida Institute of Oceanography, University of South Florida; and the Department of Energy’s Oak Ridge Reservation Environmental Management Site Specific Advisory Board. He served on the National Research Council Committee on the Restoration of the Greater Everglades Ecosystem and the Committee on Mine Placement of Coal Combustion Waste.
Through volunteer and professional activities Robinson has been a staunch supporter of education at the post-secondary level and has shown a career-long commitment to increasing the participation of underrepresented groups in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM). Through his research efforts Robinson has served as major research advisor to several M.S. and Ph.D. degree recipients in Environmental Science at FAMU.