RIP: Harvard Crimson ‘Father Figure’ Patrick Sorrento

Retired production supervisor was 80.

HarvardCrimsonLogoA wake was held Sunday in Everett, Mass., followed by a funeral this morning, for beloved former Harvard Crimson production supervisor Patrick Sorrento, who watched over the student publication from 1967 through 1998. He died, at age 80, last week.

The online obituary condolences page already features several heartfelt tributes from former students, including this one from Andrew Karp, Class of 1983:

I have many cherished memories of the nights I spent downstairs at the Crimson with Pat. He gave me a lot of good advice when I needed it, not just about how to put the paper together but about how to live. Of course, we shared many laughs together. Pat was a dear friend, and I knew he always had my best interests at heart. Thank you so much for allowing Pat to share his time with me and the countless other students that he supported over the years. I think of Pat often, and I will continue to do so always–each time with a smile.

And in a Saturday piece by Crimson staff writer Brandon J. Dixon, others chime in as well:

“The Crimson had many student editors, but it had one mayor, and that was Pat,” Jeffrey R. Toobin ’82, a former Crimson sports and editorial editor and writer at the New Yorker, said. “Pat was the institutional DNA that connected the paper and the students to our predecessors and successors…”

As production supervisor, Sorrento was chiefly responsible for overseeing the daily creation of the paper. According to Sarah E. Scrogin ’96, a former managing editor, Sorrento would arrive at 14 Plympton St. around 8 p.m. each night and begin setting the templates for each page and helping editors flow stories into the paper. Tasked with a largely technical job, Sorrento still helped editors polish stories, offering alternatives for overused words and making convoluted sentences more precise.

Often berating Crimson editors for lagging behind during the production schedule, Sorrento would employ any number of expletives to light a fire under the editors’ feet.

Read about Sorrento’s last shift with The Crimson here and the honorary naming in the fall of 1998 of a nearby Cambridge street corner here. RIP.

Previously on FishbowlNY:
Outgoing Harvard Crimson Editor Celebrates Paper’s Influence
Harvard Crimson Editor Questions Nicholas Kristof D-cision