Brescia Celebrates Dr. Patricia Skidmore Whose Retirement Ends an Era


June 27, 2008

London, ON — Brescia University College bids a fond farewell to Dr. Patricia G. Skidmore, history professor, who officially retires today after 36 years on faculty at the College.


Dr. Patricia Skidmore leaves Brescia to spend her retirement with husband, Peter Skuce.

At a ceremony in her honor on June 26, many members of the Brescia community shared some of their favorite memories and wishes for Dr. Skidmore, beginning with Sister Delores Kuntz, who served as principal for many of Dr. Skidmore’s years at Brescia. “In academic matters, Pat has been a devoted scholar and professor of history. The list of her publications reflects her consistent engagement with her subject and her desire to explore new areas and approaches to it.”

Dr. Dennis Hudecki brought greetings from the faculty association and a special letter to be read at Dr. Skidmore’s reception. “Before we get too sad about her leaving, let me mention, from a personal, selfish point of view, one bit of silver lining having to do with her retirement. I will never have to lose good students to her again,” he said to an amused crowd.

The letter, written for the occasion by alumna Julain Eberhard ’94, was read aloud by Sister Mary Frances Dorschell. “I want to send my warmest congratulations to ‘Professor Skidmore’, as I can’t help but call her in my mind, despite the fact that we’ve become friends in the years that have passed since she first taught me Canadian history at Brescia in 1990. It has continued to mean a great deal to me to know that she remains, if no longer my teacher in the classroom, an unwavering model of the joy of learning and the importance of sharing knowledge.”

Another alumna, Martie Grof-Iannelli ’77, acknowledged Dr. Skidmore’s impact on her choice to become a librarian during her speech to the graduating students at the Baccalaureate ceremony in May. “Dr. Skidmore transformed me into a ‘tenacious information terrier’ and thereby was influential in my choice of profession – librarianship. She taught with passion and conviction…I want to personally thank Dr. Skidmore, and Brescia College for opening my mind and for providing me with the intellectual tools to compete and to succeed in my life’s chosen profession.”

In recognition of her esteem among alumnae, Dr. Skidmore was welcomed as an honorary member of the Alumnae Association in January at the launch of her second book on Brescia’s history, Brescia University College – Volume II, 1980-2007. Volumes I and II may be ordered from the Alumnae Relations Office by calling 519.432.8353, Ext. 28280 or by e-mail at Dr. Skidmore has donated the interviews that went into the writing of Volume II to the Ursuline Archives in Chatham.

Dr. Theresa Topic, principal, thanked Dr. Skidmore for these legacies to Brescia. “You have had such an impact on Brescia over the past 38 years. What I want to thank you for is keeping us connected to our past and our traditions. You have an understanding that any institution that loses track of where it comes from can’t know where it’s going.”

Dr. Skidmore’s legacy of work will be felt at Brescia for years to come. In addition to bringing history alive for countless students, she served as academic dean for two years, revamped Awards Night (with Dr. Paul Barker) to make it the significant event it has become, created an annual pot-luck dinner for off-campus students and faculty, started the Writing Lab at Brescia and worked there for five years, and she initiated the volunteer program at Brescia, got it running and turned it over to others to continue as Beyond Brescia.

In addition to her many contributions to the College, her work is in demand beyond Brescia. Her writings have been requested by the City of London, the Law Society of Upper Canada and her research on the history of Alma College has become particularly important to the City of St. Thomas since a recent fire destroyed the historical building.

Dr. Skidmore’s affection for Brescia, her students and the faculty and staff has been obvious to those who have worked and studied with and learned from her for almost four decades. “It’s been great to get to really know the people I work with. I think that’s rare today, but it happens here. Changes over the years have been beneficial and fun to watch. Now, I am going to become the old, old guard. That’s okay with me. This is a grand moment.” The people of Brescia wish Dr. Skidmore many grand moments in her retirement.

Alumnae have at least one more opportunity to see Dr. Skidmore lecture. She is scheduled to present on Brescia’s history at the Western Senior Alumni session on main campus on October 14, 2008.

– 30 –

For more information, please contact: Julie Maltby, Communications & Alumnae Relations Officer at 519-432-8353, ext. 28280.

Brescia University College, Canada’s only women’s university college, is affiliated with The University of Western Ontario. The 954 women registered as full-time students at Brescia study a wide variety of subjects in Arts, Social Sciences, and Foods & Nutrition while pursuing Western degrees. The Catholic College welcomes students from all backgrounds and values diversity. For more information, please visit