Dennis W. Nixon: Doctor of Laws, Honoris Causa

RWU Law celebrates the Director of the Rhode Island Sea Grant Program and a member of our own Marine Affairs Institute's advisory board — a respected and engaged marine lawyer, educator, academic, boater, diver, and more.

Dennis Nixon
Dennis W. Nixon: Director, Rhode Island Sea Grant; Professor of Marine Affairs, URI; RWU Law Doctor of Laws, Honoris Causa

On Friday, May 15, 2020,

Dennis W. Nixon

Director, Rhode Island Sea Grant; Professor of Marine Affairs, URI

will be presented by Roger Williams University School of Law with the degree of Doctor of Laws, Honoris Causa.

B.A.         Xavier University
M.M.A.  University of Rhode Island
J.D.          University of Cincinnati College of Law

Dennis Nixon has served as Director of the Rhode Island Sea Grant Program since 2013, leading a multimillion-dollar research and education program devoted to using scientific knowledge to improve the management of Rhode Island’s coastal waters. He is also a member of the advisory board of the Marine Affairs Institute at RWU Law.

Nixon notes that he is particularly proud of his thousands of former students now working in marine industries, government, law and science.

A faculty member at the University of Rhode Island for five decades, Nixon teaches in the area of marine and coastal law. He served for four years as Associate Dean for Research and Administration at the Graduate School of Oceanography (where he was responsible for the administration of the 200-plus-acre campus, pier, and the 185-foot research vessel Endeavor) and for the preceding eight years as Associate Dean of Academic Affairs at the College of the Environment and Life Sciences.

A marine lawyer by training, Nixon is a member of the Maritime Law Association of the United States and the Rhode Island bar. He is Secretary and General Counsel for the Point Club, a fishing vessel insurance cooperative he helped found over 30 years ago; and co-founder of the International Marina Institute, which provides educational programs and certification for professionals in the marine industry around the world.

Under a grant from the National Science Foundation, Nixon acts as legal advisor and risk manager for the University National Oceanographic Laboratory System, and has provided advice to the entire U.S. academic research vessel fleet since 1986.

Nixon has lectured on marine law topics in 27 states and 26 countries on six continents. He publishes widely, and is author of the seminal casebook, Marine and Coastal Law (1994), now entering its third edition. Nixon holds certificates in International Institutions from the University of Geneva, and Ocean Law from Harvard Law School. He is an avid sailor, and races weekly on Narragansett Bay. He holds a Coast Guard master’s license, and a PADI open-water diver certification.