Work together, stay together: Trinity couples discuss the pros and cons of working at the same institution

Dennis Ahlburg and Penelope Harley

Dennis Ahlburg, while employed as an international economist, worked with an English collaborator. This collaborator married a woman who happened to be friends with Penelope Harley, a school-teacher in England at the time. For a few years, the collaborator and the friend tried to engineer the meeting of Dennis and Penelope, but it never quite seemed to work out”“that is, until the year that Princess Diana died. Wanting to avoid London on the day of the funeral, Dennis went to visit friends who lived in Winchester. Penelope, on that same day, was on her way to Winchester to run a birthday party for her godson. They officially met on the Winchester railway platform on the day of Princess Diana’s funeral.

Ahlburg is Trinity’s 18th president, and his wife works on campus as an adjunct professor in the political science department. They both admit to hardly seeing each other on campus during the day, although Harley concedes that Ahlburg will come home to pick up lunch once in a while.

Trinity has ultimately brought this prominent campus couple even closer together.

“We have developed ideas together. I feel that I am very keen to do anything that I can to support Dennis and to support Trinity even more broadly,” Harley said.

Ahlburg agrees, stating that it is hard not being with his family.

“We are a partnership. It would be impossible to do this job without Penelope. She is terrific. She is my favorite person. The hardest thing about traveling is being away from my family,” Ahlburg said.

Their favorite part of working at the same institution?

“The fact that we have the opportunity to go to many things together. Whatever we do, we generally do together. It is nice because not only do we get to go to things together, but we are also able to talk about them afterwards,” Harley said.

Their least favorite part about working at the same institution?

“I don’t have a least favorite,” Ahlburg said. “Although, she is very well-informed of my doings on campus, and she will give me a hard time once in a while.”

Sharon Jones Schweitzer and Mike Schweitzer

Sharon Jones Schweitzer, assistant vice president for external Trinity relations, and Mike Schweitzer, Trinity’s director of facility services, will celebrate 20 years of marriage this December.

This dynamic Trinity duo met on campus through a mutual friend who worked in the office of the president.

“I came from Texas Tech and took over as grounds maintenance at that time. It wasn’t long before she swept me off my feet,” Mike said.

Mike admits to being nervous about their first date.

“I ignored all advances for a year because I didn’t think it would be possible that she would go out with me. We hit it off right away, though, and got married within the year,” Mike said.

The couple feels blessed to work at Trinity because it allows them to be a family and remain devoted to their respective jobs at the same time.

Their favorite part of working at the same institution?

“We can understand the real nature of each other’s work. We have some common ground. We can provide different perspective on projects we are working on. Having each other’s knowledge and expertise about Trinity is a real benefit professionally,” Sharon said.

Their least favorite part about working at the same institution?

“We talk about Trinity too much,” Mike said.

Stephen Nickle and Catherine Morell Nickle

Stephen Nickle met Catherine Morell right after graduating from college. Stephen was attending seminary at the time, and Catherine had moved to Connecticut after graduating from Davidson College. Catherine was attending a Davidson alumni picnic at the school when she met Stephen, who was accompanying a seminary roommate who happened to be friends with Catherine. The rest, as Stephen said, “was history.”

Catherine, the coordinator for disability services for students, has only been working at Trinity for a few months. Her husband has worked as the university chaplain for 14 years. They run into each other quite frequently.

“She is in student affairs, and I am closely intertwined with student affairs, so we see each other a good amount,” Stephen said.

Catherine agrees, stating that her husband often seeks her out in her office to say hello.

Their favorite part of working at the same institution?

“We get to commute to work together! We go to everything together,” Catherine said.

Their least favorite part about working at the same institution?

“We are worried about how to leave work at work. Although we haven’t actually experienced this, we have talked to other Trinity couples on campus who say this is the biggest challenge for them,” Stephen said.