Tree planted in memory of late professor


Ryan Fischer

A new tree is blooming on campus after just being planted outside Jenkins Hall Thursday.

Faculty members and family of Dr. Harold Blanco paid tribute to his life on Thursday afternoon. Loved ones broke ground as they planted a red maple outside of Jenkins Hall to honor the late professor.

Blanco passed away one week after a biking accident March 18 in Barboursville Park. Blanco fell off of his bike and suffered a severe neck fracture. A professor at both Marshall University and St. Joe Middle School, Blanco was on his first day of spring break when the tragic accident occurred. Blanco is survived by his wife, six-month-old son and 17-year-old daughter.

Marshall student and goddaughter of Blanco Mary Bunten said she hopes the tree is a place students can come and is a way for his spirit to live on. Blanco does not have a gravesite, so the red maple serves as a place where loved ones can gather to be with him.

Faculty member and Blanco’s friend Maggie Yelencsics said she hopes the tree is a reminder about how passionate he was about education and the place he held at Marshall.

A scholarship fund has been set up for Blanco’s son, as well as a GoFundMe account. The account has raised more than $23,000 to help the family. Blanco’s 17-year-old daughter is set to start at Marshall in the fall on an academic scholarship.

Elayna Conard can be contacted at [email protected].