URI professor emeritus Malcolm Spaulding honored for his work on marine environmental modeling

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Malcolm L. Spaulding
Malcolm L. Spaulding, professor emeritus of ocean engineering at the University of Rhode Island. Photo courtesy of Malcolm Spaulding.

KINGSTON, R.I., Feb. 19, 2018—Malcolm L. Spaulding, a professor emeritus at the University of Rhode Island, has been appointed a Fellow of the American Society of Civil Engineers for a lifetime of work in ocean engineering.

A highly-regarded former professor of ocean engineering at URI’s College of Engineering, Spaulding is among a select group to receive the honor.

“The group’s members elected as Fellows have made celebrated contributions and developed creative solutions that have enhanced lives,” the organization says. “Just 3 percent of our members hold this prestigious honor.”

Spaulding was on the faculty at URI for 40 years, including more than a decade as department chair. He is now principal of Spaulding Environmental Associates, a consulting firm.

He was recognized for his contributions to marine environmental modeling, including hydrodynamics; oil transport; water quality; search and rescue; and chemical spills. His models of oil spills are the most widely used in the world and have been applied to every major spill, mostly recently Deepwater Horizon in 2010.

He is founder of Applied Sciences Associates, which specializes in marine environmental modeling. The company was sold to RPS Group in 2011. He also founded, chaired and edited the proceedings of the Estuarine and Coastal Modeling Conference series, organized by the American Society of Civil Engineers.

In addition, Spaulding was a senior adviser to the Ocean Special Area Management Plan, or SAMP, which was developed to help in the siting of the nation’s first offshore wind farm in Rhode Island waters. Spaulding is also leading an effort called STORMTOOLS to provide flooding projections in coastal areas, including the effects of sea-level rise.

“When I think of ASCE Fellows, I think about someone who has dedicated his or her life to our profession and has made significant contributions,” says Christopher Baxter, a professor in ocean, civil and environmental engineering at URI. “Malcolm Spaulding has done both of those for over 40 years, and I cannot think of anyone more deserving to be an ASCE Fellow.”