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Brief Biography of Larry Nielsen

Larry Nielsen is Professor Emeritus of Natural Resources at North Carolina State University (retired January 2018). Previously, he was Provost and Executive Vice Chancellor at North Carolina State University from 2005-2009. Before that appointment, he was Dean of the College of Natural Resources at NC State (2001-2004), Director of the School of Forest Resources at The Pennsylvania State University (1994-2001) and a faculty member and later head of the Department of Fisheries and Wildlife Sciences at Virginia Tech (1977-1994).

Larry was born in 1948 in Chicago. He holds degrees from the University of Illinois (B.S., 1970), University of Missouri (M.S., 1974), and Cornell University (Ph.D., 1978). He served in the U.S. Army (1970-1972) in Vietnam as a military policeman and laboratory technician.

His scholarly interests are higher education administration and sustainable resource management. In 2013, he authored a memoir of his administrative career, entitled Provost, chosen as one of the top books on higher education leadership that year. He served during 1998-1999 on the USDA Committee of Scientists, charged with recommending new approaches to land and resource management planning in the U.S. Forest Service. For many years he served on the Board of Directors of the National Council for Science and the Environment and the World Forestry Center in Portland, Oregon. He is co-author, with three others, of Ecosystem Management, published in 2002 by Island Press. In 2017, he published Natures Allies, a book of eight biographies of conservation leaders.  He hosts a website, “Today In Conservation,” for which he has written stories for what happened in the history of conservation and the environment on every date of the year.

Teaching is his first love.  Larry has taught scores of courses in natural resources and related topics, including study abroad in the Czech Republic, South Africa, Costa Rica and England. For two decades, he taught short courses for the U.S. Forest Service on communication skills and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service on strategic planning and community-based management. He received two Certificates of Teaching Excellence and The Diggs Teaching Scholar Award from Virginia Tech. In 2016, he was inducted into the NC State Academy of Outstanding Teachers and in 2017 was named an Alumni Distinguished Undergraduate Professor.  Also in 2017, he received the university’s Green Brick Award, as a faculty member who has made outstanding contributions to campus sustainability.  In 2020, he received the Excellence in Fisheries Education Award from the American Fisheries Society for his lifetime of contributions to teaching.  In 2022, the Renewable Natural Resources Foundation recognized his outstanding career with their Sustained Achievement Award.

He was President of the National Association of University Fisheries and Wildlife Programs during 1993-1995 and President of the American Fisheries Society during 1990-1991. He organized and co-chaired the First World Fisheries Congress, May 1992, in Athens, Greece. He was a Kellogg National Fellow (1981-1984). He is a Fellow of the American Institute of Fisheries Research Biologists, and a Fellow and Honorary Member of the American Fisheries Society.

In 2021, he published Wolfpack Ramblings, a collection of 32 stories about people, places and happenings at NC State, and Dead Man on Campus, his first mystery novel.  He is a renowned public speaker, known for his story-telling ability, humor and optimism.

Larry and his wife, Sharon, have been married since 1970 and live in Cary, North Carolina.