Larson Aquatic Research Scholarships (LARS)

Sponsored by the American Water Works Association (, the LARS scholarships provide support for doctoral and masters students interested in careers in the fields of corrosion control, treatment and distribution of domestic and industrial water supplies, aquatic chemistry, and/or environmental chemistry.  Specific Eligibility/Support: Awarded annually, will provide one-time funding for two scholarships:

      • $5,000 for a master’s        student
      • $7,000 for a doctoral        student

Additional judges will be provided by the Aquatic Chemistry Section of the Illinois State Water
Survey.  Applications are available each September at


Cumulative_Lars scholarship winners Awardees_7-2014

History And Further Information:

The American Water Works Association established a new graduate research grants program, as a living memorial to the late Dr. Thurston E. Larson, active for many years in both the AWWA and the American Chemical Society. Dr. Larson died in 1984 after a long and distinguished career with the Illinois Water Survey.


Established to promote increased graduate research in all phases of aquatic chemistry and related environmental sciences, the memorial will provide grants to qualified graduate students, to be selected by a subcommittee named by the AWWA, but including representation from the Division of Environmental Chemistry. Disbursements from Memorial funds for graduate students selected to receive research support grants will be designated “LARS Grants,” (Larson Aquatic Research Support Grants).


A lifelong Illinois resident, Larson was serving as assistant chief emeritus of the Illinois Water Survey at his death at the age of 74. He earned a doctorate in Sanitary Chemistry in 1937 from the University of Illinois, and joined the Illinois Water Survey in 1932, while still a graduate student. Be worked there under Dr. Arthur BuswelI who had succeeded Prof. Edward Bartow, who was President of the American Chemical Society in 1936, and also was past President of the ALMA. Larson completed 45 years service with the Illinois Water Survey before retiring as assistant chief in 1977. He also was a professor of environmental engineering at Illinois from 1962 to 1977. Here he specialized in corrosion, water chemistry, analytical methods improvement and water treatment.


Long active in the American Chemical Society, Larson was chairman of the Division of Environmental Chemistry in 1954, Division Secretary for many years, and a national Councilor for 25 years. He received the Distinguished Service Award of the Environmental Chemistry Division in 1971. Dr. Larson also headed the steering committee of the ACS Committee on Environmental Improvement which developed the ACS’ landmark reports titled Cleaning Our Environment – The Chemical Basis for Action, (1969), and Cleaning Our Environment – A Chemical Perspective (1978).

Larson was active in the American Water Works Association throughout his career, and served AWWA as President in 1970-71. A Life Member, he received numerous Association awards for his contributions, including the Goodell Prize in 1957, the Illinois Section Fuller Award in 1966, the Diven Medal for Outstanding Service in 1966, and the Research Award in 1972. He played a major role in establishing the AWWA Research Foundation in 1967.