Richard S. Spill ’70 died October 13, 2014, in California, from complications of a brain tumor. He was born January 2, 1948, in Biddeford, and prepared for college at Hebron Academy. A member of Beta Theta Pi fraternity, he founded the weight lifting program at Bowdoin.
He went on to earn a master’s degree in criminal justice at the State University of New York in 1972, a master’s of science in education at the University of Maine in 1976, complete a post-graduate program in employment and training at Harvard University in 1976, and earn a master of arts degree marine affairs at the University of Miami in 1993. His employment history was just as varied. He held several positions in criminal justice, culminating in 1973 as special assistant to the superintendent of the Massachusetts Correctional Institution, Walpole, after a bloody riot. He devised short-term projects to restore and maintain order, and then long-term programs to alleviate inmate anger and frustration. He then began a long career in the employment and training field. His success gained the attention of the Department of Labor’s Office of Youth Programs, which hired him in 1978 to create an exemplary youth program that could be replicated across the country. The program he devised formed the cornerstone of his subsequent work in the employment and training field, and was the subject of one of the first DOL monographs on competency-based training, which he co-authored. Over the course of his career, he authored or co-authored 50 publications, ranging from short articles to a how-to competencies manual that ran close to 1,000 pages. When Ronald Reagan dismantled the Office of Youth Programs, he embarked on a consulting business, designing and operating competency-based programs. When competency-based training requirements for youth were formalized in 1989, he wrote the federal regulations. In the early 1990s, in pursuit of a new challenge, he took up the cause of protecting marine mammals from hunting and exploitation. In 1993, he represented the Animal Welfare Institute at an International Whaling Commission (IWC) meeting, and blocked a move to lift the ban on whaling. After four years, he returned to the employment and training field, working first for the North Central Indiana Private Industry Council and then the National Skill Standards Board. He is survived by Nancy Humphrey, his partner of 28 years, whom he married at the hospital four days before his death. He was predeceased in 2006 by his sister, Sandra Glatt.