Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Larry Robinson Sworn in as Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Oceans and Atmosphere at NOAA

oday, on the steps of Lee Hall on the campus of Florida A&M University (FAMU), Dr. Larry Robinson was sworn-in as the assistant secretary of commerce for oceans and atmosphere at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Deborah A. Jefferson, director for Human Resources Management and deputy chief human capital officer for the Department of Commerce, performed the swearing-in ceremony via telephone.

“It gives me great pleasure to swear in Dr. Robinson,” said Jefferson.

Upon the swearing-in ceremony, more than 100 FAMU administrators, faculty, staff and students, who came out to witness the ceremony, applauded and cheered.

“Having spent so many years working on ocean and coastal ecosystem issues, I am excited to be joining NOAA at this dynamic and challenging time,” said Robinson. “As we confront climate change and other threats to our coastal communities, I look forward to helping develop and implement national ocean policy, and working with fishing communities and councils around the country to effectively manage our valuable fisheries. There is so much important work to be done that benefits the economy, the environment and our communities.”

Robinson further stated that this afternoon he would attend a meeting regarding the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico and would leave for Louisiana and Alabama Tuesday morning.

In his new position, Robinson will support and manage NOAA’s coastal and marine programs, including marine sanctuaries for preserving areas of special national significance, fisheries management to sustain economic prosperity, and nautical charts for safe navigation. He will also support NOAA’s participation as a lead agency in President Obama’s Ocean Policy Task Force.
Robinson also will help guide policy and program direction for NOAA’s conservation, protection and resource management priorities. NOAA helps protect, restore, and manage the use of ocean, coastal and Great
Lakes’ resources through an ecosystem-based approach to management.

“While I am very happy for him, it is going to be a tremendous loss for the university,” said FAMU President James H. Ammons. “Dr. Robinson has had an outstanding career and has served as a professor, researcher, vice president for academic affairs and as a vice president for research. I am certain that he will do an outstanding job.”

About Dr. Larry Robinson
Dr. Larry Robinson was the vice president for research and a professor in the Environmental Sciences Institute at Florida A&M University (FAMU). Since 2001, he has served as director of the NOAA Environmental Cooperative Science Center (ECSC) headquartered at FAMU, which consists of a broad, multi-institutional consortium of predominantly minority-serving institutions. ECSC’s multifaceted program has made a significant contribution to the promotion of diversity in the scientific workforce — especially within NOAA — due, in large part, to Robinson’s outstanding leadership.

Between 1984 and 1997, Robinson served as a research scientist and a group leader at Oak Ridge National Laboratory. His work there included detection and assessment of special nuclear materials and application of nuclear methods in nonproliferation, environmental science, forensic science and the assessment of high purity materials. From 1997 to 2003, Robinson directed FAMU’s Environmental Sciences Institute where he led efforts to establish bachelor and doctoral degree programs. In 2007, he became the first African American to serve as the science advisor to the United States Department of Agriculture’s Cooperative State Research, Education and Extension Service.

Robinson graduated summa cum laude with a bachelor’s degree in chemistry from Memphis State University in 1979, and earned a doctorate in nuclear chemistry from Washington University in St. Louis in 1984.

About National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration understands and predicts changes in the Earth’s environment, from the depths of the ocean to the surface of the sun, and conserves and manages coastal and marine resources.

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