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School of Law Mourns the Passing of Professor Emeritus Thomas A. Clingan, Jr.

Home   >  News   >  December 2008 Headlines   >  School of Law Mourns the Passing of Professor Emeritus Thomas A. Clingan, Jr.

The University of Miami School of Law mourns the passing of Professor Emeritus Thomas A. Clingan, Jr., who passed away on Tuesday, December 9, 2008. Professor Clingan taught at the Law School from 1970 to 1996 and founded the school's Ocean & Coastal Law graduate program.

Born in 1928, Clingan was known far and wide as one of the world's leading experts on the law of the sea. He served in the U.S. Coast Guard for 12 years, where he achieved the rank of lieutenant commander and was an instructor of navigation for three years in the Coast Guard's Officers Candidate School. After earning a Bachelor's degree from the U.S. Coast Guard Academy in 1950 and a law degree from George Washington University Law School in 1962, where he graduated first in his class and was inducted into the Order of the Coif, Clingan served as law clerk to the Chief Judge of the U.S. Court of Claims from 1962 to 1963. For seven years afterward, he was a member of the law faculty at George Washington and from 1969 to 1970 was counsel to the U.S. Congress House Merchant Marine and Fisheries Committee's Subcommittee on Oceanography.

In 1970, Clingan joined the faculty at UM Law. Soon afterward, he co-founded the school's Ocean & Coastal graduate program with former Professor Dennis J. O'Connor, and recruited Bernard H. Oxman, who currently chairs the program, to the Law School faculty.

"Thomas Clingan was a giant in the field of ocean policy and the law of the sea. He was known and respected by scholars, diplomats, and students throughout the world for his broad knowledge and wise judgment. We are all in his debt for the contributions he made to the promotion of the rule of law in the oceans and the protection of marine life," said Professor Oxman.

After serving as coordinator of the University's Sea Grant Program from 1972 to 1973 and as interim dean of the Law School from 1973 to 1974, Clingan took leave from the Law School in 1974 to serve as Deputy Assistant Secretary of State and Ambassador for Oceans and Fisheries Affairs. In 1975, Clingan returned to the Law School. His teaching areas included environmental, international, and ocean law and he became a dedicated member of the Dean's Circle. Adding to his role at the Law School, Clingan was also an adjunct professor of marine science at the University.

From 1975 to 1982, Clingan served as an expert consultant to the U.S. Department of State. Over the years, he also served as deputy representative and vice-chairman of the United States Delegation to the Third United Nations Law of the Sea Conference, president of the Law of the Sea Institute, chairman and rapportuer of the Exclusive Economic Zone Committee of the American Branch of the International Law Association, and chairman of the American Bar Association's Subcommittee on Oceanography.

Among his many professional affiliations, Clingan served on the advisory board of the Center for Ocean Law and Policy at the University of Virginia; the Senior Advisory Committee of the Marine Affairs Program of Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution; the Antarctic Public Advisory Committee of the Department of State; and the Editorial Board of the Journal of Ocean Development and International Law. In addition, Clingan was appointed to the National Advisory Committee on Oceans and Atmosphere by the President in 1973 and 1974. He also authored, edited, and contributed to myriad scholarly publications, including his casebook on the law of the sea.

Clingan is survived by his wife Nancy, their two children, and three grandchildren. The Clingans married in 1950 and lived in Coral Gables since 1970. Condolences may be sent to: University of Miami School of Law, Office of the Dean, P.O. Box 248087, Coral Gables, FL 33124-8087.