Officially opened on February 27, 1968, Harrington Auditorium provided a multi-purpose auditorium for social functions and athletic events. Born out of the expansion directed by President Storke, Harrington was designed to complement the existing athletic facilities.
Completed in 1967, Harrington Auditorium, has witnessed the graduation of more than twenty classes, experienced social activities such as musical concerts and comedic acts, and hosted collegiate-level athletic competitions. Astronaut William Anders, one of the first astronauts to fly around the moon, and Esther Goddard, wife of Robert Goddard, the "pioneer of modern rocketry" , received honorary degrees under Harrington's roof. The facility is now used for WPI physical education classes and for special events such as Homecoming and Reunion.
Besides the prominent basketball court, the auditorium provides squash and handball courts, a sauna, a conference room, locker rooms for visiting athletic teams and an auditorium with a seating capacity of 3,300.
Today's strong athletic presence was not always a part of WPI history. In the late 1800s, the school tolerated rather than supported the students' participation in inter-collegiate athletics. Run and supported by the students, the athletic programs survived long enough to be noticed by the growing alumni body. Through the efforts of Charles A. Harrington '95 and brother Frank C. Harrington '98 the WPI Athletic Association was formed. The two brothers worked hard to improve student life at WPI. In 1910, their work resulted in the construction of Alumni Gymnasium, Alumni Field and in 1916 the integration of physical education and athletics at WPI. Further contributions by Anna Harrington Boardman, Frank's daughter, helped establish an endowment, the Harrington Auditorium Maintenance Fund. This endowed fund maintains the building which bears her family name.