Campus News

Highlighting Sister Dorothy

Sister Dorothy Neuhofer, the University Archivist and Special Collections Librarian, is currently the longest-running staff member in the Saint Leo community; she has worked for the

University for 49 years as of today, and she has enjoyed those 49 years thoroughly. By next year, she will have worked for the University for half a century – and her many years of hard work for and dedication to the University are a testament to her love of Saint Leo and its history.

“I guess I am excited [to be working at Saint Leo for 50 years]. Did I plan for it to happen? No; it just happened. But I enjoyed it,” said Sister Dorothy. Why exactly did she decide to stay at the University for such a long time? “I like it here,” was Sister Dorothy’s answer.

Over Sister Dorothy’s extensive career at the University, she has seen many changes on the campus; aside from its campus name and physical expansion, Sister Dorothy has witnessed firsthand the transformation of student populations and attitudes both on and off campus, the impacts of an ever-growing faculty and staff, and the increasing potential of the University’s academic programs. Within this time she also witnessed what is known as the charter class graduation – the first true graduation ceremony that ever took place on campus. That year also marked the beginning of bachelor’s degree programs on the campus. Taking place in 1967, the ceremony was held in “The Mall,” which was the original name for the field between Saint Francis Hall and Saint Edward Hall.

Sister Dorothy began working for the University in August of 1965 during the Vietnam War a time of immigration. This was also just two years after the assassination of President John F. Kennedy. As a member of a religious community, Sister Dorothy was sent to the University – which, at the time, was known as Saint Leo College – to work since it was a Catholic school. Before coming to the University, Sister Dorothy was sent to other religious parishes to work; however, she could stay with these parishes for only three years at a time.

Sister Dorothy values the people she works with the most – creating bonds with those she works with strengthens her desire to work. Additionally, the fact that she could stay for more than three years at a time meant that she would have a greater focus on creating meaningful bonds with others. This was one of the strongest contributing factors to her career at the University.

Sister Dorothy’s interest in becoming an archivist originates from her school days. When Sister Dorothy was young, she performed quite well in school – so well, in fact, that during exams, she would almost always be the first to finish. However, always being the one to wait for everyone else to finish eventually led to her becoming bored often; she countered this boredom, however, through reading history books. The information inside of the books that she read fascinated her and led her to develop an affinity both for books and history.

When she had first arrived at the University, she was asked by Father Fidelis Dunlap, who was the library director of the time, whether she would like to work as a librarian or as something else. Sister Dorothy agreed to work for the library, “so long as [she] could work with the people.” Father Fidelis would eventually become one of Sister Dorothy’s most influential friends, primarily because of his personality, dedication to his students, and overall work ethic as a librarian.

“I was grateful for Father Fidelis because of his preferences, and because he was serious about the library; he was always in tune with the students,” said Sister Dorothy.

Since her first position at the University as a reference librarian, Sister Dorothy has also been Director of Reader Services, the Library Director, an Archivist/Librarian, and the Director of Library Services. Each of these positions has been challenging, but equally rewarding, for her.

“It’s a lot of work, but it’s work I enjoy.”

Sister Dorothy currently works in the Daniel A. Canon Memorial Library as an archivist. Her office is located on the second floor of the building.

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