URI Inducts 12 into Lifetime Service Society

Candace Oviatt and Sheldon Pratt were 2 of 12 faculty and staff inducted into URI's Lifetime Service Society
Candace Oviatt and Sheldon Pratt.

The University of Rhode Island recently inducted 12 faculty and staff members with at least 40 years of service into its Lifetime Service Society during ceremonies outside the Robert L. Carothers Library and Learning Commons. Each recipient received a certificate and a commemorative brick, inscribed with their name and years of service, which will be placed in the courtyard of the library. Two GSO professors emeriti were among the honorees: Candace Oviatt and Sheldon Pratt.

Candace Oviatt earned her bachelor’s degree in biology from Bates College in 1961 and her doctorate  in oceanography from the University of Rhode Island in 1967. Her first position was with the Harvard School of Public Health, and included several bottom surveys southeast of Block Island. Oviatt  returned to the GSO and met Professor Scott Nixon the first day he arrived in Rhode Island. With Nixon she conducted over many years cutting edge research on Narragansett Bay.  She initiated studies with mesocosms at the Marine Ecosystems Research Laboratory designed to mimic the ecology of Narragansett Bay and its response to various pollutants from hydrocarbons to nutrients. She has taught the graduate core course in biological oceanography and currently teaches an oceans and climate course on Narragansett Bay. Oviatt received a number of notable honors, including a Lifetime Achievement Award from Save the Bay, and she was the 16th recipient of the Bostwick H. Ketchum Award from the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution.

Sheldon Pratt graduated from Tufts University with a degree in biology and came to URI’s Narragansett Marine Lab in 1960 before it became the Graduate School of Oceanography. He is a benthic ecologist with broad interests in natural history and the history of South County. During his 56 years at URI, generations of students, staff and faculty at GSO have learned from Pratt about the natural history of benthic (bottom) species and how to identify them. Pratt was a research scientist on several cruises of GSO’s first research vessel, the Trident, and studied deep water benthos off the coast of Africa and sailed on the Endeavor’s first cruise in response to the 1976 Argo Merchant Oil Spill off Salem, Mass. Pratt is a longtime member of the New England Estuarine Research Society and The Benthic Society.