Duke Names Engineering Quadrangle in Honor of Thomas and Susan Harrington

March 15, 2018

The Harringtons have generously supported the Pratt School of Engineering and Duke over many years

Duke University has named the quadrangle at the Pratt School of Engineering for alumnus Thomas E. Harrington, pictured, and Susan C. Harrington.

Thomas E. Harrington

by Michaela Kane

Duke University has officially named the central quadrangle at the Pratt School of Engineering the “Harrington Engineering Quadrangle” in honor of Thomas E. Harrington E’66 and Susan C. Harrington.

The new name, approved by Duke’s Board of Trustees in February 2018, honors the Harringtons' generous support of the university and the Pratt School of Engineering, including a recent major gift to advance the school’s goals and priorities for engineering education and research.

A ceremony to dedicate the Harrington Engineering Quadrangle will be held on April 21

“The Harrington Quad is among the most vibrant places on campus,” said Ravi V. Bellamkonda, Vinik Dean of Engineering. “From class projects to alumni picnics to our weekly student e-socials, it is a space that hosts a wide range of gatherings, connecting not only our buildings but our community.  It means a lot to us that a distinguished graduate like Tom would reach back to improve the experience for future generations of engineers, and we are grateful to him and Susan for their generous contributions over the years. The naming of this important hub of school life is a wonderful way to celebrate their commitment.”

Successful Alumnus Gives Back

After graduating from Duke University with a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering, Tom Harrington moved to Silicon Valley in California, where he began to pursue multiple entrepreneurial ventures that combined his work in real estate and his technical background.

In 1999, Harrington co-founded On-Site.com, a platform that makes it easier for both renters and property managers to streamline the leasing process. Beyond serving as chairman of the company, Harrington has also taught courses on entrepreneurship and real estate investment, and is a featured speaker at Stanford University’s Graduate School of Business.

Harrington credits his undergraduate engineering education for providing him with valuable problem-solving skills that have helped him throughout his entrepreneurial career path.

“My time as an engineering student at Duke challenged me to think both creatively and practically,” said Harrington. “It really helped train me to make efficient decisions, whether that was for a project I was working on or for broader applications in life, and this engineering education set me up for later success.”

Harrington is also grateful for the lifelong friends he made during his time at Duke, and has fond memories of the time he spent working in Hudson Hall, attending Duke basketball games, and even walking across the engineering quad that will soon bear his name.

“I’ve always been emotionally attached to Duke because of the friends and memories I’ve made here,” said Harrington. “My son also graduated from Duke, so it’s been a point of pride for both of us, whether we’re watching basketball games back home or returning to campus, to see how things have changed since our time as students.”

A History of Support

Harrington and his wife, Susan, have donated generously to the Pratt School of Engineering and Duke University over the years. Their gifts have included a conference room in the Fitzpatrick Center for Interdisciplinary Engineering, Medicine and Applied Sciences, as well as ongoing support through the Engineering Annual Fund.

With their newest gift, Harrington is excited to contribute to the expanding curriculum that equips Duke Engineering students to tackle real-world challenges and pursue innovative careers in engineering.

“I gained valuable skills and friends during my time at Duke, and I’m proud to be a Duke alumnus today,” said Harrington. “I know that engineers from Pratt will accomplish great things, and I’m happy to contribute to that future success.”

The ceremony to dedicate the Harrington Engineering Quadrangle, which sits between the historic Hudson Hall and the Fitzpatrick Center for Interdisciplinary Engineering, Medicine and Applied Sciences, will be held on April 21, and will include the unveiling of a new plaque to honor the Harringtons and their contributions to the Pratt School of Engineering.