Harold W. Quigley originally wanted to be a doctor. Born in Ontario, Canada, in 1888, Quigley grew up on Portland, Oregon, and, following graduation from Thomas Jefferson High School, worked in the offices of the Page Belting Company of Portland for four years.
In 1910, Quigley enrolled at the University of Oregon and began pre-medical course work. During the next four years, he sang in the Glee Club, competed in oratory contests, and met Katherine Northrup. The two were married in 1916 and had two children.
While earning good grades in his pre-med classes, Quigley soon decided he wanted to focus on something different, and began studying industrial chemistry. But after discovering there were not many openings in that field in the West, he changed his major his senior year to teaching.
After graduating from Oregon in 1914, Quigley taught school and coached athletics in Bandon, Oregon, and then from 1917-1924, taught physics and coached football, basketball, track and field, at his alma mater, Jefferson High in Portland, where he had great success in multiple sports.
Quigley, who was inducted into the Portland Interscholastic League’s Athletic Hall of Fame in 2010, coached the Jefferson Democrats (or Demos) to football championships in 1918 and 1919, a basketball championship in 1922, and the track and field team to championships for seven straight years (1918-1924).
In 1925, the Washington State Normal School (now known as CWU) hired Quigley to coach its track and field and football teams and to teach health education courses. After two successful years of coaching football, Quigley decided to devote his energies to the classroom and stepped away from coaching.
Quigley taught zoology and biology over the next decade before deciding to return to school to earn a master’s degree. From 1939 to 1945, he accumulated graduate study credits at the University of Chicago, and eventually earned his MS in zoology.
In 1951, Quigley, who was battling some health issues, retired from teaching. Three years later, he was made Emeritus Professor of Biology at Central. Following his retirement, Quigley and his wife resided in Bend, Oregon, where he died in 1981 at the age of 93.
In 1966, construction was finished on a new residence hall, part of the Bassetti complex (after the architect Fred Bassetti), which was named in Quigley’s honor. The three- story building’s design reflected the transition from mid-century Modern architectural style to the newer Late Modern style.