The incredible Dr. Erickson gives back

Emeritus professor and researcher Larry Erickson is doing his part to change the world

At 83, Larry Erickson is not riding the bench.

Larry is an alumnus, professor emeritus of K-State’s Carl R. Ice College of Engineering, former director of the Center for Hazardous Substance Research, author, mentor, husband and president of the Kansas Square Dance Association. His dedication to students, the university, his field and to the environment keeps him actively teaching, researching and giving to K-State.  

It’s rumored Larry still works more than 40 hours each week as a researcher and mentor in the Tim Taylor Department of Chemical Engineering as he continues to find less expensive, more successful and sustainable ways to improve soil quality in contaminated sites around the world.

In 50-plus years at K-State, Larry has coauthored nearly 500 academic papers and mentored 70 graduate students from around the United States and beyond. He is motivated to share knowledge, inspire stewardship of the environment, and support K-State.

When asked why he gives, Larry answered, “We try to do our part in our corner of the world.”

Larry’s tenacity as a researcher and professor extends to his K-State support. In addition to more typical ways of giving, Larry and co-authors donate royalties from three books directly to K-State to help fund dialog and research on sustainability. Larry and a research partner have made their most recent book — Phytotechnology with Biomass Production: Sustainable Management of Contaminated Sites — “open access.” This means that people from around campus and around the world, including his seminar students, have access to the book online and free-of-charge.

Larry and his wife Laurel have chosen to help meet the needs of people and programs across campus and with a variety of gifts. In addition to donating the proceeds of book royalties, the Ericksons have given real estate to support students; cash donations toward the Dr. Larry Erickson Fellowship Award and faculty support; a charitable annuity to the Library Acquisition Endowment; and gifts, IRA rollovers and bequests to the Tim Taylor Department of Chemical Engineering. As creative and tenacious as Larry has been in his professional life, he and Laurel have been regularly supporting Kansas State University.

As a recipient of scholarships, fellowships and more, Larry knows how important financial support can be to advance research, inspire students and cultivate needed change. He compares philanthropy to his work in environmental sustainability.

“Take a barren site that is contaminated, add nutrients and grow a forest,” Larry said. “This adds value to the site and for the region.” 

In the same way, Larry and Laurel’s support of K-State will leave the university better than when he arrived as an aspiring K-State student from Wahoo, Nebraska. “We do our part and things happen.”

Just as his latest research demonstrates economic, environmental and cultural benefits of planting trees to foster life in soil, Larry Erickson’s generous investments in K-State will yield growth and opportunity for generations of K-State students and graduates.

To support research like Larry’s in the Tim Taylor Department of Chemical Engineering, contact Jenna Brown, senior director of development for the Carl R. Ice College of Engineering, or 785-775-2043.

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Risa Flanders Development Officer - Engineering


Jenna Brown

Jenna Brown Senior Director of Development - Engineering