Alumni Spotlight: Peg Harrington ’64
A Golden Journey
by Valerie Esposito
2014 marks the golden anniversary of St. Joseph’s College’s graduating class of 1964. Fifty years ago, the College was still known as St. Joseph’s College for Women, and had only one campus in Brooklyn for its all-female student population. S. Elizabeth A. Hill was receiving a B.A. in English, S. Vincent Therese Tuohy was president and the McEntegart Library was one year away from being opened.
St. Joseph’s College has come a long way since then, and the same can be said for the Class of 1964.
Margaret “Peg” Harrington ’64 has worn many hats since receiving a B.A. in History from St. Joseph’s. After teaching social studies for the New York City Department of Education for 13 years, Harrington became an assistant principal, principal of Port Richmond High School in Staten Island, a superintendent in Queens and then chief executive of school programs and student support services before retiring in 1999. However, Harrington did not stay retired for long. She returned to the workforce in 2000 as the chief operating officer of an educational management company, a position she held for 11 years before retiring again in January 2011.
Before she embarked on her impressive journey, Harrington chose St. Joseph’s because she was awarded a scholarship from New York State. During her years as a history major with a double minor in secondary education and economics, Harrington was a member of the Yearbook Club, National Federation of Catholic College Students and National Student Association.
“I had great academic preparation to teach history and enter various graduate degree programs,” Harrington said. “Professional accomplishments come from dedication, hard work, intelligence and knowledge. They are also built on habits of mind generated at St. Joe’s.”
Harrington currently serves as secretary to the board of the Jacques Marchais Museum of Tibetan Art in Staten Island. She also serves on the board of Boys & Girls Harbor, an education-focused organization committed to providing individual learning plans for students in New York City, and is the director of international programs at the National Principal’s Leadership Institute in New York City.
“Experience in the classroom and working in the schools have made me the person I am today,” Harrington said. “Also, learning from all sorts of individuals and growing up among different experiences. I have been lucky enough to be mentored by some special people.”
An avid world-traveler, Harrington met her husband, Mel Hardin, in Egypt in 1977 when they were both traveling with the U.S. Fulbright-Hays Program. She has visited 102 countries and plans to continue traveling in the future.
As an alumna with an endless list of accomplishments since graduating from St. Joseph’s, she offers this advice to current students: “Listen, focus and build a sense of self. Be a lifelong learner and be enhanced by your integration of ideas from college into a way of life that allows you to continue to learn, grow and give service to others.”