Larry Robinson, Ph.D., is Florida A&M University’s (FAMU’s) 12th president and a distinguished professor and researcher in the School of the Environment at FAMU. Previously, he served as the interim president of FAMU from September 2016 to November 2017, from July 2012 to March 2014, and in 2007.
He also served as director of FAMU’s Environmental Sciences Institute from 1997 to 2003, provost and vice president for Academic Affairs from 2003 to 2005, and vice president for Research in 2009.
Robinson is actively engaged in research with students and faculty as the director and principal investigator of the Center for Coastal and Marine Ecosystems. The center was established in September 2016 with a $15.4 million award from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Educational Partnership Program. FAMU is leading the partnership and collaborating with five universities to make a major impact on coastal and marine ecosystems education, science, and policy.
From 2001 to 2010, Robinson served as director of the NOAA Environmental Cooperative Science Center housed at FAMU. His research interests include environmental chemistry, environmental radiochemistry, and environmental policy and management.
In 2007-2009, Robinson served as senior scientific advisor at the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Cooperative State Research, Education, and Extension Service. In May 2010, Robinson took a leave of absence from FAMU to serve in a U.S. Senate-confirmed position as assistant secretary of Commerce for Conservation and Management at NOAA. While there, he supported and managed NOAA's coastal and marine programs, including marine sanctuaries for preserving areas of special national significance, fisheries management, and preparation of nautical charts. He also supported NOAA's participation in addressing the BP oil spill crisis, and served on the Ocean Policy Task Force and Gulf Coast Restoration Task Force.
In November 2011, Robinson was asked to return to the University as a special assistant to the president and professor to coordinate administrative and eminent scholar searches and integrate Graduate Studies and Title III Programs within the Division of Sponsored Research. He was later asked to chair the University’s Crisis Management Team, which addressed a number of issues, including anti-hazing efforts. He was selected again as provost and vice president for Academic Affairs in March 2012.
From 1984 – 1997, Robinson served as a research scientist and group leader of a neutron activation analysis facility at Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL). His research responsibilities at ORNL included trace element analysis in environmental science, epidemiology, forensics, material science and paleontology. His expertise also includes environmental radiochemistry, nuclear safeguards, and non-proliferation.
Robinson has also served as a member of the Ocean Research and Resources Advisory Panel (and chair of the Ocean Observing Sub-panel); founding member of the Council of Environmental Deans and Directors; founding member of the National Ecological Observatory Network Science Technology Education Advisory Committee; member of ORNL’s Environmental Sciences Division’s External Advisory Board; member of the Department of Energy’s Oak Ridge Reservation Environmental Management Site Specific Advisory Board; and a member of the Florida Chapter of the Nature Conservancy Board of Trustees.
Additionally, he has served on the National Research Council Committee on Mine Placement of Coal Combustion Wastes, NRC Committee on Restoration of the Greater Everglades Ecosystem, and the NRC Committee to Review the Corps of Engineers Florida Aquifer Storage and Recovery Technical Data Report.
Robinson attended Lemoyne-Owen College, earned a bachelor’s degree in chemistry (summa cum laude) from Memphis State University, and a doctorate in nuclear chemistry from Washington University in St. Louis, Mo.