Peter Harrington's former colleagues
Peter Harrington's former colleagues remember his wit

Ever come across a commemorative plaque and wonder about the person being honored? If you approach Cleveland Hall from the north side, you just got something else to wonder about.

Kappy Brun plants the maple
Kappy Brun plants the maple

Today, a small group gathered to witness the planting of a tree and a plaque-adorned rock that honor Peter Harrington, 1953-2002. Peter was a computer technician who worked at the College of Education and, later, at WSU’s Information Technology office. When he died of a heart attack, his IT colleagues honored him by planting a Japanese maple in the atrium of the Information Technology Building. But the  expansion of the adjacent Martin Stadium eliminated the atrium. So, Peter’s plaque was moved to Cleveland Hall, home of the College of Education.

Among those present for the planting were education faculty members Marcia Katigbak Church and Tim Church. Marcia described Peter as “kind of a rebel/nonconformist but not in an annoying way—sort of a funny, ‘glint in his eyes’ way. I was still a grad student then—he was ready to help and very approachable. He had lots of stories, like a local historian.”

He was the sole information services person during his stint in the college, Tim said.

“I found Peter to be very helpful and service oriented, just as our college IS staff are today. He had a wry sense of humor and was lots of fun,” Tim said. “For several years he was a regular at Friday evening sessions at Rico’s pub with several of the faculty. I suppose because he chatted with almost everyone who needed computer help, he had more informal knowledge about what was going on in the college than anyone.”

Peter was a Pullman High grad (’71) who studied at Fairhaven College (part of WWU) and WSU. The folks who gathered to remember Peter were, pictured above from left, Chris Kell, Geoff Allen, Jackie Kell, Kathy Vogeler and David Wherry, all from Information Technology; and Lynn Buckley, Krenny Hammer, Marcia Church and Tim Church, from the College of Education.

WSU grounds supervisor Kappy Brun did the honors of planting the maple.