Retired Professor Harrington Dies, Arrangements Announced


Michael L. Harrington

OXFORD, Miss. – Michael Louis Harrington of Oxford, retired
University of Mississippi professor and administrator,
passed away this week while visiting in Portland, Ore.

Harrington, 63, was born in Portland. He joined the Ole
Miss faculty as assistant professor of philosophy in 1970
and retired last year as professor emeritus. He served as
chairman of the Department of Philosophy and Religion from
1999 to 2005.

A memorial service is planned for 4 p.m. Tuesday in
Paris-Yates Chapel. A reception is to follow at the
Harrington home, 217 Colonial Road. Arrangements are being
handled by Coleman Funeral Home in Oxford.

UM faculty and staff fondly remember Harrington as a
colleague and friend.



“Mike Harrington was a much loved member of the university
faculty and Oxford community,” said Chancellor Robert
Khayat. “He and his family have enhanced our lives in a
variety of ways. The university mourns his loss and extends
our heartfelt sympathy to his wonderful family.”


Glenn Hopkins, dean of the College of Liberal Arts, said,
“Michael Harrington was an important part of this
university for over 30 years. A dedicated and popular
teacher, he influenced generations of students, and, as an
administrator, he led his department with good sense and an
unfailing dedication to improving the education of students
here. This university is better because of him. He will be
greatly missed, especially by those of us who knew him well
and were fortunate enough to call him friend.”

Because of Harrington’s leadership and vision, the
Department of Philosophy and Religion grew from fewer than
three faculty members in the 1970s to its current eight
members, and is still growing, according to William F.
Lawhead, department chair.

“Michael had a love of ideas for their own sake, but he
also was dedicated to making philosophy relevant to
everyday ethical concerns,” Lawhead said. “He disseminated
philosophy not only in the classroom and in professional
papers, but in newspaper opinion pieces as well. I will
always remember him for his engaging, wry wit. I could not
talk to him very long without him making me laugh.

“It was his humor and sense of philosophical perspective
that kept him on top of his personal medical problems and
that kept the rest of us on top of the challenges that
faced the department over the years. He had a zest for
life, but also a Socratic detachment that gave him a deep
sense of peace.”

Harrington played an important role in the formation of the
UM’s Center for the Study of Southern Culture. Through his
work on the Mississippi Humanities Council, he promoted the
humanities across the state for many years.

A graduate of Davidson College, Harrington completed both
his master’s and Ph.D. at Emory University.

Harrington is survived by his wife, Mary Mathison
Harrington; two daughters, Elizabeth Harrington and Emily
Harrington; and two brothers, Peter Harrington of
Winston-Salem, N.C., and Lee Harrington of Washington,

Memorials can be made to the Heifer Foundation or St. Jude
Children’s Research Hospital.