2018 Ponaganset Distinguished Alumni Award Winner Profile

Congratulations to the 2018 Recipients of the Distinguished Alumni Award
Malcolm Spaulding and Libby Slader

Malcolm Spaulding ‘65

Malcolm Spaulding graduated from Ponaganset High School in 1965 and went on to become a professor of ocean engineering at the University of Rhode Island’s College of Engineering, where he worked for 40 years, serving as chair for 10 years. After earning a master’s degree at MIT, he returned to URI to complete a doctoral program. Spaulding is now principal of Spaulding Environmental Associates, a consulting firm.


During his tenure as a faculty member at URI, Malcolm mentored hundreds of students, conducted world-renown research, and leveraged his innovative work in ocean modeling to start the international engineering firm Applied Science Associates. He built the undergraduate ocean engineering program that today caters to more than 100 students. At the graduate level, he served as a major professor for 23 master’s students and 10 doctoral students.


In February 2018, he was appointed a Fellow of the American Society of Civil Engineering for a lifetime of work in ocean engineering. “The group’s members elected as fellows have made celebrated contributions and developed creative solutions that have enhanced lives,” the Society proclaims. “Just 3 percent of our members hold this prestigious honor.”


Malcolm is founder of Applied Sciences Associates, a company specializing in marine environmental modeling, which he recently sold to an international engineering company. In addition, Malcolm was a senior advisor to the Ocean Special Area Management Plan, which was developed to help in the siting of the nation’s first offshore wind farm in Rhode Island waters. He is also leading an initiative called STORMTOOLS to provide flooding projections in coastal areas, including the effects of sea-level rise.


Now retired, Malcolm consults and splits his time maintaining his 187-acre forest in Carolina, RI and his 50-acre farm in the southwest of France.









Libby Slader ‘84

Libby graduated from Ponaganset High School in 1984 and Syracuse University in 1988 with a degree in interior design. Libby’s education, specifically the arts program at Ponaganset High School, encouraged Libby to develop her passion for the arts and design and provided her with the foundation on which she built her career. She has been practicing interior design for more than 30 years and involved in advocacy with the arts and design in Rhode Island since moving back in 2000. In 2006 Libby started teaching in the continuing education department at the Rhode Island School of Design as a way to give back.


In 2013, Libby was appointed by Governor Lincoln Chaffee, and reappointed by Governor Gina Raimondo, to the Rhode Island State Council on the Arts (RISCA), serving as Chair for the past four years. Through her RISCA appointment, Libby promotes the value of arts in education and advocates for careers in art or design and the importance of self-expression and critical thinking that an arts education provides.  In addition, she is co-founder of DESIGNxRI, an organization that promotes and engages the design community in Rhode Island.


Over her 30-year career, Libby has worked on a number of distinguished, high-profile design projects such as: The United States Consulate Office Building in Hong Kong, the United States Embassy in Bolivia, the National Bank of Kuwait and Royal Caribbean’s cruise ships.  While the Manager of Design at Sony Pictures Entertainment, she designed offices for both Adam Sandler’s and Sean Connery’s production companies. 


Over the years, Libby has been recognized as an industry leader and awarded numerous design awards. Some of Libby’s award-winning work in Rhode Island include: Durk’s Bar-B-Q on Thayer Street, Persimmon, and 95 Lofts, a jewelry manufacturing building converted to residential apartments.







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