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Jan. 3, 2020

Busch, Lawrence

Dr. Lawrence “Larry” Busch, longtime University Distinguished Professor of Sociology, passed away in the evening of Saturday December 28, 2019 from long-term illness.

Dr. Busch was “tremendously positively influential in the development of the department in the 1990s and 2000s, and in the development of a large number of graduate students and faculty colleagues,” said Craig Harris, associate professor emeritus of sociology.

Born in New York, NY, Busch earned his B.A. in history from Hofstra University in 1965, before completing two stints in the Peace Corps—first in Guinea and then in Togo. He went on to earn his Ph.D. in Development Sociology from Cornell University in 1974. After rising through the academic ranks in the Department of Sociology at the University of Kentucky, Larry joined the MSU faculty as a professor in the Department of Sociology in January 1990. 

During his 27 years at MSU, Busch was the co-director of the Center for the Study of Standards in Society, and he held appointments in several prestigious universities and institutes around the world. His interests ranged from biotechnology and nanotechnology policy to public participation in policy processes.

Busch was named University Distinguished Professor of Sociology at MSU in 1997. He published 15 books, 95 journal articles and 62 chapters in edited volumes. A fellow in the American Association for the Advancement of Science since 1993, Busch served as president of the Rural Sociological Society and of the Agriculture, Food and Human Values Society and earned prestigious honors from scholarly academies around the world—a testament to his global intellectual influence.

“Larry was a formidable science studies scholar and he played a central role in developing a scientific approach to understanding standards in contemporary society,” said Aaron M. McCright, MSU Sociology Professor and Chairperson. “As renowned as he was, he was always humble and generous with his time—especially with junior faculty and graduate students. I will most fondly remember Larry’s dry wit and cerebral humor. He could just as easily have been in Monty Python as been a professional sociologist. He will always remain a cherished member of our department.”

A celebration of life open house will be held for Dr. Busch in Ann Arbor on Jan. 26. For more information on the event and ways to share your condolences, visit here.