Skyline mourns loss of Tom Sever


(Mercy High School)

Skyline College adjunct math professor Tom Sever passed away unexpectedly on May 4 at the age of 56.

Sever was a graduate of Skyline’s class of 1973 and began teaching at the College of San Mateo in 1989. In 1994, he returned to teach at his alma mater, Skyline College. Since 2002, he had been working as a full-time math instructor at Mercy High School in San Francisco in addition to teaching part-time at Skyline.

Sever was very passionate about sharing his knowledge with others, particularly his students.

The courses he taught at Skyline included Math 123–Intermediate Algebra II and Math 241–Applied Calculus I. Adjunct math professor Vanson Nguyen took over Sever’s Math 123 class. Although Nguyen did not know him personally, he said that he could tell that Sever had made a big impact on students’ lives by the way they spoke in reference to him.

“He was a teacher who students had grown to love,” Nguyen said. “His students shared with me the fact that he was the type of teacher that made you want to come to class and do the work.”

Nguyen added that Sever’s students were shocked and saddened by the news of his passing.

“If Sever was still here, he would say that we have to keep trucking on and moving forward,” Nguyen said.

He decided to honor the memory of Sever by suggesting that students dedicate everything they learn and work towards to their former teacher, an idea to which the class responded well to.

Michael Williamson, Skyline’s dean of the science/math/technology division, knows that many will miss Sever’s presence.

“He was a really good math teacher,” Williamson said. “It’s truly a loss for Skyline.”