Sister Veronica (Dorothy) Skillin, 1928 – 2015

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Sr. Veronica Skillin

Sister Veronica Skillin, a Sister of Notre Dame for 68 years, died peacefully at Sequoia Hospital on April 9, 2015.  Sr. Veronica served as the 15th President of College of Notre Dame, now Notre Dame de Namur University, from 1980 to 1994.

NDNU President Judith Maxwell Greig, Ph.D. described Sr. Veronica’s tenure as one that “was marked by a significant expansion in university programs, which helped set the stage for the elevation of NDNU from a college to a university. She had great love for the university and its students, faculty and staff, and remained involved in university life right up until her passing.”

Janifer Stackhouse, a former member of Sr. Veronica’s Cabinet, said “Of all the people I have known Sr. Veronica was most able to reach through with love to people of every background and station in life. Personally, I will be forever grateful to her and ever cherish the memories of how she cared for each of us, knowing each of us in special ways, and always trusting us. How blessed we are to have shared our lives with her as our friend, as our leader, and as an everlasting inspiration to guide how we move forward into the future.”

Speaking at Founders Day in 2012, Sr. Veronica acknowledged the Sisters whose courage and vision led them to establish College of Notre Dame and the dedicated faculty and board members who became partners in that educational mission. . . . Today’s students, faculty, board members, benefactors, friends are all present-day founders of the University, for this is a living entity which goes on being re-founded every day.”

Her accomplishments as President of the college were many: increased enrollment; college-wide participatory governance; renovation of Ralston Hall, all Science labs, the ND Theater, Taube Hall, the Madison Art Center; she created the Wiegand Gallery and upgraded the athletic field. She oversaw the building of the Walter Gleason Center on campus, and delighted in being able to support basketball players and other student athletes on campus.

Sr. Veronica with members of the basketball team (l-r, Adili Skillin, Eric Williams, Mitch Belasco, Mark Tyson, Steve Day) in 1993. Adili is her nephew.

Sr. Veronica (Dorothy) Skillin was born in San Francisco and graduated from Notre Dame High School, San Francisco, and College of Notre Dame. She received her teaching credential at CND, and a Master’s degree in English from Stanford University. An educator to the core, and a recognized leader, she taught and served as principal in Notre Dame schools in Santa Clara, Redwood City, Santa Barbara, Salinas, San Jose, Marysville, and Alameda before becoming the Assistant Dean at CND, Dean of Students and, in 1980, President of the College. She also served as Coordinator of Ministries on the Provincial Council for the Sisters.

Intellectually curious, Sr. Veronica read the New York Times online every day, and the New York Review of Books. She was passionately interested in music, literature and the arts, and was a devoted 49er fan with strong opinions about past and current quarterbacks.

Predeceased by her parents, Harmon D. and Dorothea Skillin, and her sisters, Theresa and Veronica, she is survived by her brothers, Monsignor Harmon Skillin of the Diocese of Stockton, CA, Joseph and Penny Skillin of Georgia, and her beloved nephew, Adili Skillin.

Sr. Veronica will be greatly missed and lovingly remembered by her community of Sisters of Notre Dame, by the CND and NDNU communities, by her family, co-workers, former students and many good friends. She will also be fondly remembered by the young women who entered religious life in the 1960s when she served as Director of Postulants at the Novitiate in Saratoga.

The funeral Mass was held on Monday, April 20th at 10:30 a.m. at the Cunningham Chapel at Notre Dame de Namur University.


Memorial contributions may be made to Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur, 1520 Ralston Avenue, Belmont, CA 94002 or online or to Notre Dame de Namur University, 1500 Ralston Avenue, or online at ndnu.edu.