Harvard's "official greeter" finally said goodbye Saturday night.
Special Officer Thomas Scanlon, a 24-year veteran of the Harvard police who met and befriended a generation of Harvard freshmen in his years of patrolling the Yard, bowed out before 250 friends and co-workers who gathered at the Pound Building to cheer him into retirement.
Scanlon, who left the force May 1, grew misty-eyed as the crowd of Harvard deans, administrators, police officials--and, of course, cops--lauded him as "just a beautiful person who made everybody else feel that way, too."
Speaking in the soft brogue of his native County Caven. Scanlon later said he "never had a single regret" about his years at Harvard, an intermittently turbulent era that included the 1969 strike and the 1972 take-over of Mass Hall.
"Young people never change," Scanlon said. "The hair might get longer and all that, but inside they never change," he added.
Calling Scanlon "the Presidents' man," William A. Lee, acting chief of University police, read congratulatory messages from President Bok and former president Nathan M. Pusey '28.
W.C. Burriss Young '55, associate dean of freshmen, later presented Scanlon with a picture of Harvard Yard "on behalf of the 31,209 freshmen who would have wanted to say goodbye."
"There are many people who can do this job or that job, but there was only one man greeting people in the Yard for all those years--and we're awfully lucky it was Tom Scanlon." Young said.