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Charles ‘Hank’ Spaulding ’51, longtime MIT Corporation member, dies at 84

Charles “Hank” Spaulding ’51, a devoted alumnus and longtime member of the MIT Corporation, died Thursday, Nov. 24, in Kennebunk Beach, Maine. He was 84.

Spaulding’s extensive service to the Corporation began in 1986, when he was elected as a term member; he was elected as a life member in 1991. Spaulding also served on the Corporation’s investment, development and auditing committees, and on visiting committees for the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, the MIT Libraries and the Department of Urban Studies and Planning.

“Hank Spaulding … has contributed to and participated in the life of the Institute in just about every capacity one can imagine: student, alumni volunteer, founder of a center, adviser to a dean, Corporation member, visiting committee member and visiting committee chair,” President Emeritus Paul E. Gray said on March 1, 2002, when Spaulding became a life member emeritus of the Corporation. “Over the course of 50 years, in one way or another, he has rarely been far from his alma mater.”

Spaulding was born in Manchester, N.H., on March 2, 1927. The eldest of three children, he spent much of his free time behind the soda fountain at his father’s pharmacy and restaurant in Derry, N.H., where he honed his entrepreneurial spirit.

After earning his bachelor’s degree in civil engineering from MIT in 1951, Spaulding started his professional career designing and building bridges at Parsons Brinckerhoff. Several years later, he joined Boston-based real estate developer Cabot, Cabot & Forbes, where one of his first projects was developing a 7,000-acre ranch into the residential town of Laguna Niguel, Calif. He went on to become executive vice president and director at CC&F from 1963 to 1966, during which time the firm developed some of Boston’s iconic office towers and suburban industrial parks.

In 1966 Spaulding co-founded Spaulding & Slye Corporation, a real estate development, brokerage, construction, property management and advisory services company that developed office properties in Boston; Washington; Charlotte, N.C.; and Oklahoma City. He led the company as president and then chairman until 1982.

For the next three years, Spaulding worked closely with Jean de Monchaux, then dean of the School of Architecture and Planning, to establish MIT’s Center for Real Estate (CRE), a graduate education and research program in real estate. Linking the disciplines of architecture, urban studies and planning, civil engineering, economics, and management, the CRE has become a model for similar programs at other universities. Spaulding served as CRE’s first chairman until 1985, when he stepped down to found Spaulding Investment Company.

“Hank was a true visionary in his creation of the Center for Real Estate,” says Tony Ciochetti, Thomas G. Eastman Chair of the Center for Real Estate and professor of the practice of real estate at MIT. “Serious study of the field of real estate development was a unique undertaking that fit the mission of MIT very well. Combining the skills of business, planning, design, construction and economics, the MSRED program has influenced the lives of 780 graduates who have been instrumental in creating a better built environment in 26 countries around the world. Hank’s generosity to the Institute, the School of Architecture and Planning, and the Center for Real Estate demonstrate his fondness for ‘all things MIT.’”

MIT paid tribute to Spaulding in 1986 with the Bronze Beaver — the highest honor given by the MIT Alumni Association for distinguished service — and in 1991 with the Marshall B. Dalton Class of 1915 Award, for extraordinary leadership in developing resources for the Institute.

In addition to the MIT Corporation, Spaulding served on the boards of the Lahey Clinic, Pinkerton Academy, The Carroll School, the Kennebunk Beach Improvement Association and the Senior Center at Lower Village, which he co-founded with his wife.

Spaulding is survived by his wife of 57 years, Ann Emerson Spaulding; sister Jean Rand and husband Dave, of Willimantic, Conn.; brother Richard Spaulding and wife Eleanor, of Lexington, Mass.; sons Rob Spaulding and wife Penny, of Kennebunk Beach, Maine; Scott Spaulding, of Newburyport, Mass.; Andy Spaulding and wife Chris, of Andover, Mass.; Jack Spaulding and wife Suzanne, of Portsmouth, N.H.; and Tom Spaulding and wife Mary, of Kensington, N.H.; daughters Jane Spaulding Breiby and husband E.J., of Lexington, Mass.; and Sue Spaulding, of California; and eight grandchildren.

Memorial contributions may be made to Gosnell Memorial Hospice House, c/o Hospice of Southern Maine, 180 U.S. Route 1, Scarborough, ME, 04074; or the Senior Center at Lower Village, 175 Portland Road, Kennebunk, ME, 04043.

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