Marshall campus mourns the loss of faculty member

Dr. Harold Blanco

Submitted Photo

Dr. Harold Blanco

A Marshall University professor passed away over spring break due to a neck injury after a bicycle accident.

Harold Blanco fell off his bike while riding with his nephew at Barboursville Park March 18. Blanco suffered a severe neck fracture that left him paralyzed and suffered two episodes of cardiac arrest, necessitating the implantation of a pacemaker.

Marshall University President Jerome A. Gilbert issued the following statement Sunday evening:

“This is a loss for all of us at Marshall,” Gilbert said. “Harold was an important part of our university family. Even though I did not have the pleasure of knowing Harold, I learned a great deal about him from his family and friends this week and know how special he was to so many people. My sincere sympathies go out to all who knew and loved him.”

Blanco was a professor for the educational foundations and technology program in the College of Education and Professional Development.

Blanco, a Marshall graduate, also taught classes at St. Joseph Catholic School in Huntington, where he was a part of a three-year $1.5 million National Science Foundation grant that identified talent among middle school students in Appalachia using robotics and recycled materials.

Recent graduate Taylor McNeel said Blanco was an encouraging role model for herself and her peers.

“Whenever I found out I wasn’t going to graduate on time, Dr. Blanco encouraged to keep pushing through and to believe in myself,” McNeel said. “It breaks my heart knowing the education department lost a great professor.”

Blanco was a native of Caracas, Venezuela. Blanco’s wife, Carrie-Meghan, had a second child last September, making them a family of 4.

The funeral service is 11 a.m. Wednesday at St. Joseph’s Catholic Church in Huntington.

Emily Wood can be contacted at [email protected].