Marilyn Moyle ’66

20 September 2023

For many Carls, bonds with professors extend beyond the classroom. For Marilyn Moyle ’66, a bond with English professor Harriet Sheridan reached all the way home.

Marilyn Moyle and partner

“She just took me in,” Moyle recalls. Sheridan — who later became dean of the college — and her husband, English professor Phil Sheridan, made a room for Moyle in their house. In exchange, she looked after their children and tended the pets in their basement “zoo” when the Sheridans went on vacation.

“I was really happy,” Moyle says. “It would have been a huge mistake to drop out.” Yet just a few months earlier, she’d been almost convinced she needed to. She had been struggling with classes and waking up at 5 a.m. every morning for her job in the dining hall. Moyle was the daughter of a cement finisher and a high school attendance secretary, who had told her at age 5 that she’d have to pay for college herself.

“I am really grateful I had to work my way through college,” Moyle says, “because it kept me grounded, even when it was hard.”

Happy with her job and living arrangements, Moyle found her academic footing thanks again to Sheridan.

“She said, ‘You’re not supposed to be a biology major. Obviously, you’re an English major.’ She became my advisor, helped me organize my classes, and made me take Milton.”

Set on this path, Moyle earned her teaching certificate. She married her sweetheart, Peter Moyle, the day after graduation. She heard from Sheridan from time to time, who told her once, “You’re a survivor.”

Marilyn and Peter Moyle settled in Davis, California, where he taught fish biology at the university. She devoted herself to the art community, her children, and advocacy for mental health issues. When she heard about Carleton’s TRIO program, she wanted to do something similar to help students like her, who have to work hard to attend Carleton. She also wanted to honor the couple who shaped so much of her time on campus. Her 50th reunion was the perfect time to establish the Harriet and Philip Sheridan Endowed Scholarship Fund.