Submitted by: Dan Rich

Submitted by: Dan Rich


Sister Mary Madeleva Wolff CSC

May 24, 1887 – July 25, 1964


South Bend Tribune 7/25/1964 (Excerpts)

Sister Mary Madeleva CSC, 77, former president of St. Mary’s College and a Catholic poet of didtinction, died at 6 a.m. today in New England Baptist Hospital in Boston. College officials said their president of 27 years was in the hospital for a periodic checkup. She underwent surgery on Thursday, She relinquished the helm at St. Mary’s in 1961, having steered her alma mater on a course of growth from the midst of the Great  Depression. During her years as president, college enrollment and teaching staff tripled. Following World War II she directed a building program including a $625,000 Science Hall and the $2.5 million Moreau Hall and O’Laughlin Auditorium for the fine arts. She was also responsible for the founding of the Graduate School of Sacred Theology, the first such institution at a Catholic women’s college. It is open to both religious and lay people.


She was born Evaline Wolff, May 26, 1884 in Cumberland, Wis. to a family of German background. After a year at the University of Wisconsin, she transferred to St. Mary’s earning her bachelors degree in 1909. The previous year she entered the Sisters of the Holy Cross order in preparation for a religious life. She took her final vows in 1910. She began her teaching career at her alma mater. In 1916 she began studies at the University of Notre Dame, earning her masters degree in 1918. The next few years were spent in the west as principal of Sacred Heart Academy in Ogden, Utah, Utah; and Holy Rosary Academy in Woodland, Calif. She received a doctor of philosophy degree in 1925 from the University of California, Berkley. Her career in the west was capped by her appointment as President of St. Mary of the Wasatch College in Salt Lake City, Utah, a post she left to take over the reins at St. Mary’s here. She studied at Oxford University in England and received seven honorary doctorates at various times, including ones from Notre Dame, Indiana University, Marquette University, Creighton University and Manhattan College of New York.


South Bend Tribune 7/26/1964 (Excerpts)

Bishop Leo A. Pursley of the diocese of Fort Wayne-South Bend will celebrate a requiem high mass at 11 a.m. Tuesday in the Church of Our Lady of Loretto for Sister M. Madelva CSC, president emeritus of the College. Burial will be in Our Lady of Loretto Cemetery on the campus. Alumnae of the college will recite a rosary at 9 p.m. Monday in Staptelton Lounge of LaMans Hall on the campus, where friends may call after 12 noon Monday.