campus news and events

Colby-Sawyer President to Discuss His Congressional Testimony and Engagement in Legal Issues of the Gulf of Mexico Oil Spill

NEW LONDON, N.H., Nov. 16, 2010 - Colby-Sawyer College President Thomas C. Galligan Jr., an expert in maritime law, will speak about his engagement in the complex legal issues of Gulf of Mexico oil spill and his testimony before three Congressional hearings.

The presentation will take place on Tuesday, Nov. 30, at 5 p.m. in Clements Hall at the Curtis L. Ivey Science Center. Admission is free and the public is invited to attend.

The explosion of the Deepwater Horizon drilling rig off the Louisiana Coast on April 20, 2010, left 11 workers dead, 17 injured, and millions of gallons of crude oil spewing into the Gulf of Mexico. The enormity of the potential legal consequences caused legal professionals and the U.S. government to spring into action. The U.S. House and Senate conducted investigations and held numerous hearings, calling expert witnesses, including President Galligan, to testify about aspects of the human tragedy and environmental disaster. He was invited to testify three times in May and June, 2010, as an expert witness in maritime law.

President Galligan's first appearance was on May 27 before the Judiciary Committee of the U.S. House at the hearing of “Legal Liability Issues Surrounding the Gulf Coast Oil Disaster.” On June 8, he testified before the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee hearing called “The Risky Business of Big Oil: Have Recent Court Decisions and Liability Caps Encouraged Irresponsible Corporate Behavior?”

Finally, President Galligan returned to Washington, D.C., to testify on June 30 before the U.S. Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation about maritime liability under the Death on the High Seas Act and Limitation of Liability Act at the hearing titled, “The Deepwater Horizon Tragedy: Holding Industry Accountable.”

Prior to the hearings, President Galligan served as co-chair of the Gulf Oil Symposium held in New Orleans on May 25. The symposium sought to inform the legal community of the complicated issues that were likely to arise from the Deepwater Horizon drilling rig explosion and oil spill. The Gulf Oil Symposium, sponsored by the Louisiana State Bar Association, allowed President Galligan to return to the state where he first developed his interest and expertise in maritime law.

President Galligan joined Colby-Sawyer College as its eighth president in 2006. He previously served as dean and professor of law at the University of Tennessee College of Law in Knoxville, Tenn., where he also taught torts and admiralty. He is a member of the University of New Hampshire School of Law's Board of Trustees and currently serves as co-chair of the New Hampshire Supreme Court Society Civics Education Task Force and as a commissioner for the New Hampshire Post-Secondary Education Commission. President Galligan holds an A.B. from Stanford University, a J.D. from the University of Puget Sound (now Seattle University) School of Law, and a L.L. M. from the Columbia University Law School.

From 1986 until May 1998, President Galligan taught at the Paul M. Hebert Law Center at Louisiana State University (LSU). At LSU, he was named the Dr. Dale E. Bennett Professor of Law and was honored by the students as the Outstanding LSU Professor six times. He has published numerous books and articles on torts and admiralty, and his scholarship has been cited by the United States Supreme Court and other federal and state appellate and trial courts.

Colby-Sawyer College is a comprehensive college that integrates the liberal arts and sciences with professional preparation. Founded in 1837, Colby-Sawyer is located in the scenic Lake Sunapee Region of central New Hampshire.

Colby-Sawyer College, 541 Main Street, New London, N.H. 03257 (603) 526-3000