Skip Navigation

Larry Swanson Memorial Scholarship

Larry SwansonThe   Larry Swanson Memorial Scholarship Fund  will provide support for graduate students in the School of Marine and Atmospheric Sciences ("SoMAS"). Students who are eligible to apply for and receive scholarships from this Fund must meet the following criteria:

  • Be enrolled as a full-time graduate student in the School of Marine and Atmospheric Sciences as defined by Stony Brook policy.
  • Demonstrate good academic achievement as defined by Stony Brook policy.
  • Preference given to students who demonstrate financial need as determined by the Office of Financial Aid and Scholarship Services based upon completion of the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).


In his more than 30-year career at Stony Brook, Larry Swanson, Associate Dean of the School of Marine and Atmospheric Sciences and Director of the Waste Reduction and Management Institute,distinguished himself as a leading researcher, educator, and mentor. Larry also served as Interim Dean of SoMAS from 2016 to 2018.

Throughout his career, he worked diligently to improve and protect our oceans and coastlines, and his research spanned coastal oceanography, coastal erosion processes, ocean acidification, and the impacts of human-derived waste and water pollution on coastal waterways. Most recently, he served in a leadership capacity on the NYS Governor’s Ocean Acidification Task Force, which seeks to protect the state’s coastal waterways and understand human impacts on them.

As director of SoMAS’ Waste Reduction and Management Institute for three decades, Larry played a lead role in studying, assessing, and advocating to protect Long Island’s supply of drinking water, and to more responsibly and effectively manage waste. Created by the State Legislature in 1985, the Institute grew to include 10 faculty members. 

In his role as Associate Dean for Facilities, Larry was responsible for maintaining the School’s research vessels, and was actively involved in efforts to upgrade the Flax Pond Marine Lab to create a fully functioning shellfish hatchery.

In addition to his own research, Larry was dedicated to inspiring future researchers and scientists. He mentored dozens of graduate students, many of whom have gone on to distinguish themselves as scientists, educators, and environmental leaders.

Larry came to Stony Brook in 1987, after more than a decade at the New York Bight Project and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, where he served as Director of the Office of Marine Pollution Assessment on Long Island and Executive Director in the Office of Oceanic and Atmospheric Research. He served as a commissioned officer at NOAA, rising to the ranks of captain and commanding officer of the NOAA Ship Researcher. He earned his doctorate in oceanography from Oregon State University.

Beyond his professional accomplishments and his long standing service to the University community, Larry will be remembered for his kindness and positivity. Throughout his career, he embodied the SoMAS unofficial motto, “Making Scientific Research Count,” for the benefit of all of us at Stony Brook, our Long Island community, and society at large.

Ways to Give

To donate online using MasterCard, Visa, American Express, or Discover please click here.

Donations may also be made by check or money order payable to “Stony Brook Foundation”, with the notation “For Larry Swanson Memorial Scholarship Fund” in the memo field, mailed to:

Larry Swanson Memorial Scholarship Fund
School of Marine and Atmospheric Sciences
Stony Brook University
Stony Brook NY 11794-5000
Tel: 631-632-8009