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About Larry McKay

Dr. Larry McKay is the Jones Professor of Hydrogeology and Chair of the Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences at the University of Tennessee (UT). This endowed position was created with a donation from Donald Jones (UT grad 1959) and his wife, Flo, to provide diverse opportunities for UT students in the growing fields of hydrogeology and environmental geology. Dr. McKay received a Bachelor’s degree (1981) in Geological Engineering from the University of British Columbia and a PhD (1992) in Earth Sciences from the Hydrogeology program at the University of Waterloo, both in Canada and carried out Post-doctoral research at the Geological Survey of Denmark in 1992.
In 1993, Dr. McKay became an Assistant Professor (and later, Associate and Full Professor) at UT-Knoxville. His research interests are diverse and include investigations of the hydrogeologic properties of fractured clay-rich residuum and till, contaminant fate and transport, and occurrence/transport of pathogens and fecal indicators. Dr. McKay has developed strong collaborative ties with Dr. Alice Layton at the UT Center for Environmental Biotechnology and Dr. Randy Gentry at the Institute for a Secure and Sustainable Environment (ISSE) and the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering. He’s also worked closely with Dr. Mary Rogge at the UT College of Social Work to help establish a Neighborhood Environmental College and an Environmental Health and Justice Collaborative, which carries out research and provides community education for residents affected by industrial contamination in the Chattanooga Creek area of southeast Tennessee. Dr. McKay is leader of the ISSE Water Resources Group and has served on a variety of national or international panels, including the Canadian Water Network’s Pathogens-In-Groundwater Consortium.
Dr. McKay was selected as the 2008 Birdsall-Dreiss Distinguished Lecturer. The lecture tour was sponsored by the GSA Hydrogeology Division with travel funding provided by the GSA Foundation and The University of Tennessee. Dr. McKay visited 40-50 universities and research institutions in 2008 to give research talks on fractured clays, pathogens and coal tar contamination.
Dr. McKay was recently named to the 2010 class of American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) fellows, an award given in recognition of because scientifically or socially distinguished efforts to advance science or its applications. Dr. McKay was selected for his distinguished contributions to the field of hydrogeology, through interdisciplinary experimental research, through teaching and through outreach to K-12 students and adults.


Present Chair, Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences, University of Tennessee, Knoxville
Present Jones Professor of Hydrogeology, University of Tennessee, Knoxville


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Contact Information

Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences
The University of Tennessee
Knoxville, TN 37996

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