Mylla Urban

31 March 2020
Mylla Urban
Mylla Urban

Mylla Urban, age 78, died on March 29th after a long illness. Mylla came to Carleton in 1969, coaching field hockey, swimming, and softball. Her gifts for connecting with people and managing programs became quickly known and she took on a wide range of roles in her 30 years at Carleton.

Mylla was named Assistant Professor of Physical Education for Women in 1977, along with coordinating Summer Programs in 1977–78. In that same year, she was also president of the Minnesota Association of Intercollegiate Athletics for Women. She was an Associate Dean of the College from 1979–1988, overseeing academic advising, supervising the offices of the Registrar and Off-Campus Studies, acting as liaison with the men’s and women’s athletic programs, and directing the Career Center from 1981–1988.

In 1988, Mylla was named Athletics Director with the challenge of merging the men’s and women’s programs, finding equity between physical education and the varsity, recreational, and intramural programs, and expanding the outgrown athletics facilities. She resigned that position in 1992 in order to return to teaching and coaching. Mylla retired in 1999 as an Emeritus Professor of Physical Education, Athletics, and Recreation.

Mylla is remembered as very warm and outgoing. She loved teaching and coaching, and cared deeply about students. She knew how to draw people out and was an excellent listener and adviser, to both students and colleagues.

Services for Mylla are pending, and we will send out more information when it is available.

Posted In


  • 2020-03-31 11:52:42
    Louis Newman

    Mylla was the Associate Dean when I arrived at Carleton in 1983. I still remember her from the new faculty orientation events--how impressed I was by her competence and her calm, reassuring presence. She seemed to know exactly what new faculty needed to get acclimated to Carleton, as well as how to provide us with just the information we needed in manageable doses, so that we weren't overwhelmed. In the years that followed, those first impressions were reinforced as I had the chance to work with her. She was unfailingly steady and unflappable, as well as supportive and accessible. I am grateful that my early years at Carleton were shaped, in part, by her thoughtful and caring leadership.

  • 2020-03-31 12:01:46
    Leon Lunder

    I am forever grateful to Mylla for leading the merger of the PER Department. A difficult task at best, bringing the two departments together after years of physical and philosophical differences. She was able to weather the difficult times and help us move forward. She was one of the strongest and kindest educators I had the privilege to work with.

  • 2020-03-31 21:15:32
    Amy Erickson

    I succeeded Mylla as the softball coach in 1998. Mylla became my mentor and friend immediately. I would meet with her daily that first season with my list of questions, some logistical, some philosophical and some just for advice as a first time head coach. She was always so kind and giving of her time, experience and wisdom! I so enjoyed our conversation before and after her retirement for so many years. I was blessed to get to call her a friend and colleague.

  • 2020-03-31 23:11:48
    Val Strachan

    Mylla was a true pioneer for girls and women’s athletics. She was a gem of a person, always a kind word and smile. Those of us lucky enough to have known her are better for having her in our lives. Rest easy, Mylla, and thank you.

  • 2020-04-01 10:55:43
    Nancy Ashmore '72

    I knew her as both an instructor (in my student days) and a colleague and a teammate on the faculty-staff Wombat team (when I was director of publications and editor of the Voice). She was a treasure -- warm, reassuring, supportive and generally extremely level-headed, though that was not always the case during the competitions of the field hockey team, which she coached. She led the college through important changes. Thanks, Mylla, for your friendship and your service.

  • 2020-04-01 11:50:15
    Patti Kimble '78

    I have so many memories of Mylla. She always seemed to know when I needed help, and was there with just the right amount of support. Before I became a Carleton student, she was there for me when my mother died. I never told her how much that support meant to me. Her ability to know what I needed without smothering me, or pushing too far, was a talent that she displayed throughout her life. I think part of my decision to attend Carleton was the chance to be mentored by, and learn from, Mylla.

    As new students, we were required to pass a swim test. I had been on the swim team and was a certified Lifeguard, but somehow I never knew I couldn’t float. Instead of letting me fail, she sublty coached me on how to float long enough to pass (while I was in the water taking the test!).

    Later I joined the swim team. I quickly found that this was not a good choice for me. Instead of just letting me leave the team, she suggested that I become the team manager. It was one of my best experiences at Carleton. My duties included helping keep score, setting up treats for both teams after each home meet, and reminding each diver to keep their hands up when diving at Macalester - their pool was not deep enough for competitive diving. I always felt like an intregral part of the team, because she made sure I had important responsibilities.

    It was no coincidence that I played every sport Mylla coached. I played field hockey for one season after taking her field hockey class. Mostly, people like me were on the team so the team had enough players to scrimmage. I felt valued as a driver and photographer for the team. But we had fun, and she worked all of us hard. Those of us that spent more time on the sidelines did not feel left out. Softball was my favorite. She was a great compliment to the coaching style of Ele.

    I have missed the opportunity to connect with Mylla over the years, but I will always appreciate the time that she was an important part of my life.

  • 2020-04-02 10:16:29
    Peggy Prowe

    In 1970, when I left the women’s physical education department for motherhood, I was relieved to be handing my beloved Dolphin synchronized swimmers, field hockey players, and swim team in Mylla’s competent, skilled hands. Over the years, Mylla and I have shared friendships with Pat Lamb and Ele Hansen.

  • 2020-04-02 17:30:40

    I am forever grateful to Mylla for leading the merger of the PER Department. A difficult task at best, bringing the two departments together after years of physical and philosophical differences. She was able to weather the difficult times and help us move forward. She was on of the strongest and kindest educators I had the privilege to work

  • 2020-04-03 11:18:37
    Marvin & Mary Smit

    Mylla will be missed by her family and friends.

  • 2020-04-04 15:14:39
    Nancy E. Walsh '78

    One of the best things about my Carleton experience was getting back into competitive sports, and Mylla was a big part of that. She took a chance on me despite my lack of field hockey experience, and I played goalie my junior and senior year. What fun, with great teammates and a fantastic coach! Mylla, you are in my heart and you are missed.

Add a comment