higher education

Renowned URI ocean-engineering professor Spaulding to retire

MALCOLM SPAULDING, left, is retiring from the University of Rhode Island after 39 years there. A pioneer in tracking ocean oil spills and their effects, he founded Applied Science Associates to model spills; he is shown here with company CEO Eoin Howlett in a 2007 photo.
Posted 2/24/12

KINGSTON – University of Rhode Island professor Malcolm Spaulding, who built a national reputation for himself as a researcher and for the school’s ocean-engineering program, is retiring June 30 after 39 years with the university.

Spaulding’s retirement was announced in the February/March issue of Innovations, a magazine published by the school’s College of Engineering.

With the help of a federal grant, Spaulding in the 1970s began researching oil spills, their impacts and containment. In 1979, he co-founded Applied Science Associates, an international leader in the modeling of such spills.

“I worked on two big pieces of that [grant] project: to develop an oil spill model, and to develop a tool to assess the impact of oil spills on commercial fisheries. … Those technologies have been commercialized” through Applied Science Associates, he told Providence Business News in a 2010 interview.

Spaulding remains an adviser to the company, which he sold last year. He plans to continue that work and stay involved with the university through research or consulting, according to Innovations.

He’s also credited with building the university’s undergraduate engineering program and hiring or promoting 60 percent of the faculty in his department.

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