Photo by Lee Pellegrini
Thomas Wahhab thought he knew what his evening plans were for May 4.
A senior technology consultant for Information Technology Services, Wahhab looked forward to attending the President’s Annual Recognition Dinner, where he and 36 other employees would formally celebrate their 25th anniversary years at Boston College.
Then, late in the day, Wahhab received a call from a faculty member asking for assistance in installing a sorely needed application for data analysis. It didn’t seem like it would be a big deal.
But it was. And by the time he had helped solve the problem, the 25th anniversary reception was over.
Much as he might have liked to attend the event, however, Wahhab is not about to grouse: As far as he’s concerned, he was simply providing the kind of support and reassurance that characterizes the job he and his IT colleagues do, day in and day out.
“When you’re a professional in information technology, you have to anticipate the unexpected,” he says. “Our task is to ensure our customers have the resources so they can get their work done.”
Moreover, Wahhab is able to look back with satisfaction on a quarter-century association with BC that has helped enable him, and his sons, to thrive since they arrived in Boston in 1990 as refugees from the Liberian civil war.
Starting out as a housekeeper at BC, Wahhab found himself becoming interested in computers, and enrolled in the Woods College of Advancing Studies, where he earned a bachelor’s degree in information systems.
“There was a lot of self-education and learning on the job,” recalls Wahhab, who went on to earn a master’s degree from Woods College in leadership and administration and is now studying in Woods’ cybersecurity master’s program. “Back in Liberia, computers were not so common, so having a computer lab here to work in was a big help.”
Wahhab then found a job in the University’s Data Center, and worked in several IT positions before becoming a technology consultant for the Connell School of Nursing in 2007.
“There are many things I’ve enjoyed about being a TC in the Connell School,” he says. “You deal with people on a daily or weekly basis, and you get to know and build relationships with your customers. I’ve found it very rewarding.”
Wahhab is quick to praise his fellow IT staffers and the division’s administration (“Everyone is helpful and approachable. They make coming to work a pleasure.”), who must confront challenges that have only grown with the proliferation of technology in academia in the years since he joined BC.
“Computers have become a major part of the University community. But increasingly, the community faces threats, like phishing scams or viruses, that imperil not only professional but even personal lives. So in IT, we have to be on the front lines to help everyone be vigilant and prepared – and to handle problems when they occur.
“It’s a partnership: We IT professionals need customers as much as they need us.”
Wahhab is grateful not only for what BC has meant to him, but to his sons, Jeffrey and Greg, both of them alumni (Greg also worked at the Law School for a while after graduation).
“My kids and I all have enjoyed a quality education here, and that has made a big difference in our lives. BC has been a savior to me, and I can’t say that enough.”
Sean Smith | University Communications