Dr. Larry Atkinson 1941-2020

Jan 21, 2021
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Dr. Larry Atkinson receiving a Certificate of Appreciation as OOSC Chair from UNOLS Chair Dr. Debbie Steinberg, 2017.  

Dr. Larry Atkinson 1941-2020

Dr. Larry Atkinson, Eminent Scholar Emeritus and Professor Emeritus of Ocean, Earth and Atmospheric Sciences in the Department of Ocean, Earth and Atmospheric Sciences and the Center for Coastal Physical Oceanography at Old Dominion University and long-term active member of the UNOLS community, died on December 22, 2020.   

Larry served on the UNOLS Council from 1988-1991, he went on to serve as Chair of the Fleet Improvement Committee, and member of Council, from 1997-2003.  Larry came back in 2010 to serve as the inaugural Chair of the Ocean Observing Science Committee through 2017.    Larry then went on to become the inaugural Chair of the OOI Facilities Board (OOIFB) who, along with representatives of the National Science Foundation, founded the Larry P. Atkinson Travel Fellowship in recognition of his outstanding leadership as the Inaugural Chair of the OOIFB.

Larry served the oceanographic community for more than five decades. After earning his Bachelor and Master of Science Degrees from the University of Washington and his PhD from Dalhousie University in Halifax, Nova Scotia he worked at Skidaway Institute of Oceanography in Savannah, Georgia.  He later moved on to Old Dominion University. 

Larry was a member of The Oceanography Society, the American Meteorological Society, the American Geophysical Union, the Marine Technology Society and the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS). He was a Fellow of the AAAS. He was editor of Oceanography (1993-1997) and Editor (1988–1990) and Senior Editor of Journal of Geophysical Research-Oceans (1990-1992). He was the author or co-author of over 90 reviewed publications. He served on the Department of Interior Science Advisory Committee for Outer Continental Shelf oil and gas production.

Larry distinguished himself through the consistent generous sharing of his time, knowledge, wisdom, enthusiasm, leadership, and kindness to support a wide spectrum of ocean initiatives.  He will be remembered for his ability to bring people together to reach common goals.  Larry always had a great smile, kind and encouraging word to share, and a very practical view of how to conduct science and business.  He will be greatly missed by our community.  

His obituary is available here.

Larry Atkinson
Photo courtesy of ODU.