Celebrating 40 years of the Exeter-Kenyon Programme 1976 – 2016
Q and A with Deidre Sheridan

Alumnus Deidre Sheridan, Kenyon College, talks about her experience of her time at Exeter. Read more

Kenyon review

Quotes, memories, profiles

I decided to come to Exeter because it has such a well-respected English department - I knew that studying abroad would be an enriching experience where I’d have to learn to operate in a new environment independently.  I really enjoy the level of immersion I’m getting in my studies as I feel like I can really focus on delving deeper into my courses and interests.

At Exeter, I’m continually surprised at how beautiful the countryside is and how much fun can be had tromping around fields and muddy paths.  Also, some of the stereotypes about Americans were hilarious to me!

My advice for students considering Study Abroad is it’s best to keep an open mind. Your time abroad will never be as glamorous as you’d like to think, but it’s probably better for that! I definitely feel more confident in my ability to function in a foreign place.

Megan Remillard (Kenyon-Exeter programme 2014/15) 

I like that studying English at Exeter involves a hands-on approach; we aren’t just reading about it, we are doing it, and at the same time getting fresh ideas for collaboration and meeting new people!

Natalie Thielen-Helper, third-year study abroad student from Kenyon College, Ohio

I have never experienced travel so immersive as I have this year. Going abroad for a year has enabled me to live entirely differently than we do at Kenyon.

Sarah Spruch-Feiner, 2013

For just a moment there is no homework to be done, no long bus ride ahead, no dreariness in the grey landscape. I am on the edge of the world, and England in November is the most beautiful thing I've ever seen.

Anne Pedtke, 2009

The Exeter experience was pivotal for both personal and professional growth.  

My mother noted the difference in a small but symbolic way. I had always been a very picky eater. When I ate both the cooked peas AND the stewed tomatoes on my plate when I returned home, she was shocked! Exeter offered a new “world of flavors” in people, food, culture, music, sports, and academics.  I “grew up” at Exeter.

I am committed to the value of experiencing life beyond one’s neighborhood. World peace happens in befriending another’s culture.

To this day, it continues to be one of the penultimate years of my life. I hope it is an equally fantastic experience for all the other students who go.

Thank you to Kenyon for the Exeter opportunity.

Lissa Johnson, Kenyon alumna

It is wonderful to celebrate this important anniversary of University of Exeter's oldest partnership in the year that Exeter has been recognised as a Global Top 100 University. We look forward to welcoming students from Kenyon for another 40 years and more, and to strengthening our links with Kenyon and alumni from this programme, of which we are extremely proud.

Professor Sir Steve Smith, Vice Chancellor, University of Exeter

I chose to study at the University of Exeter because of the affiliation with my university back in the States.  They have been sending groups of students here for over 30 years because of Exeter's high quality of teaching and academic reputation.  I always knew that if I was going to continue studying literature I would want to do it in the UK.  I've particularly benefited from the expertise of the English faculty and the wide array of course options.

By far my most positive academic experiences here have taken place in the seminar settings.  I have found the professors to be incredibly knowlegeable and skilled at fostering class debates.  At such a large university it's been particularly nice feeling like the teachers care about my academic experience on an individual level, which is strengthened by the intimate class dynamics and the availability and encouragement of office hours.

Besides being able to easily journey to the rest of Europe, being in England's South West has provided some excellent travel experiences around England itself: whether just brief jaunts down Exmouth's gorgeous beaches, theatre excursions to Bath and Stratford, weekends in London, or hiking trips along Cornwall's rockly coastline.

Being abroad for the year has been an amazing experience.  Being in Exeter and having the opportunity to travel around England and Europe has been a particular pleasure and learning experience.  Becoming friends and living with other Exeter students has really been a great way for me to get to experience English culture.  It's been great becoming close with such an utterly energetic and sociable group of people.  Going back to the States next year, I'll definitely have benefited from the experiences which Exeter has offered me.

Steven Bertozzi, Kenyon College

It is hard to believe that thirty years have passed since I was a student at Exeter. The year I spent there was one of the happiest years of my life.

I was a resident of Birks Hall, and I loved going for walks around the beautiful campus as well as playing cricket (rather poorly I am afraid).

My classes were outstanding, and Iam most thankful to Dr. Brooks and Dr. Edwards in English Department and Dr. Critchley in the History Department. I have a great deal of respect for the educational system of England and feel honored to have had this opportunity. I was able to visit so many places throughout the United Kingdom and Ireland during my stay. The south of England is one of the finest places in the world. The people are kind, and there are so many wonderful things to see and to experience. One day soon, I plan to come back for a few months and revisit Devon, Cornwall, Hampshire, and London.

Kristin Hansen, 1985-1986

We (are) delighted to celebrate our relationship with Kenyon. It is always a great pleasure to have the students from Kenyon in our classes and to work with our Kenyon colleagues.

Professor Jane Spencer 

We have one of the largest groups of students ever for the Kenyon-Exeter Program, and it's exciting to feel that the program is a vital part of so many students' study of English at Kenyon.

Professor Sarah Heidt, Programme Director, Kenyon College 2013-14

To all my Kenyon-Exeter students,

More than anything else, I want to say ‘thank you'. My years of directing the Kenyon-Exeter programme were the most exciting and fulfilling of my entire teaching career, and that’s because I got to know you, my students, in a way that just isn’t possible in the normal run of things. I give myself credit for having the sense to realize that any student who enrolled on the Kenyon-Exeter Program was special. To spend a year away from Gambier, where you would have been surrounded by friends and most certainly knew your way around – to spend a year away from all that required emotional and intellectual courage. You had that in abundance. That’s why the adventures we had together, at Tintagel and Stratford, the Lake District and London, were so exhilarating. But so too were our seminar discussions. You kept me on my toes with your exceptionally bright questions and observations. I learned from you, and no higher accolade is possible from an academic. It was thrilling to see you grow into independent, confident young men and women. No wonder you ruled the campus when you returned to Gambier for your senior year! I wish I could be with you in New York for this wonderful occasion; certainly my heart will be there. Email me when you can and let me know how you are. I’m planning to be in Gambier for the 30th reunion of my first Kenyon-Exeter group, and perhaps I will have the good fortune to see you there.

With my love,

Karen Edwards, Programme Director, 1985-86, 1987-88, 1990-91 and 1991-92. 

I arrived Exeter in early September 1975 on the first year of the Kenyon-Exeter program. I had met my good friends David Weber and Kevin McCafferty in London a few days earlier, and, after exploring that vibrant and exciting capital, we had taken the train from Paddington Station to Exeter St Davids. It was my first time not only in England but indeed in Europe. I was just 19 years old.

Prof. Gerald Duff ran the inaugural program and there were, I seem to recall, about a dozen of us taking part. Prof. Galbraith Crump, who had been instrumental in setting up the program, had been down to lead the first year, but a tragic automobile accident to the Crumps’ eldest son Andrew precluded them from taking part that year. The Crumps subsequently ran the program on a number of occasions, and, after retirement, bought a house and settled in Topsham for some months of each year, dear friends now sadly missed.

To a young English major, inspired by an inspirational freshman English professor Robert Daniel, it was an incredible experience to find myself in England. English life, before only read about or envisaged through the music of the Beatles, came to be seen from the inside out as Exeter became home to us. I learned to drink tea with milk and I kept a bottle of Dry Sack sherry in the bedside table of my dormitory room. Not everything was positive: I recall simply diabolical food served in the hall of residence dining room, the likes of Scotch eggs, horrible sausages and soggy chips served with everything. My nearest pub was The Red Cow, near St Davids train station, where I learned to drink rough Devon scrumpy, raspingly dry, potent, and gut-rotting.

Our education was not confined to the classroom, nor was study so clearly differentiated from other aspects of life. A day trip by coach to nearby Dorset, enjoying a pint of Royal Oak in Dorchester (Thomas Hardy’s Casterbridge), gave me indescribable insight into the atmosphere, life and characters of his Wessex novels so that I came away with entirely new dimensions of enjoyment and understanding. 

All in all, it was a truly wonderful and richly encompassing experience and opportunity. Over Christmas I took the train to Dover, crossed the Channel by ferry boat, and continued on an overnight train to Italy by way of Paris. I remember looking out the train window from my couchette as we sped through the snow-covered Alps by night. I spent that Christmas in Venice and New Year’s Eve in Florence. Over Easter, Dave Weber and I hitchhiked to Paris, made our way to Amsterdam, and somehow ended up in Tangier, Morocco. What an adventure it all was for a couple of young Americans! 

Exeter, meanwhile, was quite simply unlike anywhere I had been in my life before, and I increasingly fell under its spell. It helped that as early as December of that year, I was lucky enough to have already met and fallen in love with the person who I have subsequently spent the rest of my life with, Kim Jordan, then a first-year student undertaking a combined honours degree in English and Fine Art.

After spending a magical time with Kim and her family in the Midlands during the glorious heatwave summer of 1976, I returned to Kenyon to complete my senior year. We wrote letters to each other every single day (it was far too expensive to phone and electronic communications that today we take so easily for granted had of course not yet been invented). Kim travelled to Gambier in December on one of the first of the inexpensive transatlantic airlines, Laker, and I somehow made my way back to Exeter in the Easter of 1977 to be with Kim for her 21st birthday celebrations.

On graduating from Kenyon, I decided to return to Exeter to be with Kim while she completed her final year. For the fine art element of her degree, she specialised in both printmaking and photography. We married in 1978 and began working as a freelance writing and photography partnership, finding work with both local publications as well as national and even international (The Christian Science Monitor international edition gave us our first big break as I became their special food correspondent). Our first book, The Wine and Food of Europe, was published by Webb & Bower in 1982, and our third book, The Taste of Britain, came out in 1986. That book was dedicated ‘To the Kenyon-Exeter program which brought me to England and us together’.

And so life has carried on, for what, can it really be more than forty years?! Our children Guy and Bella were born in 1987 and 1992 respectively and we continue to live and work from our home on the beautiful River Exe at Topsham. Life is good and we enjoy meeting with the Kenyon students most years, particularly at Thanksgiving at The Bridge Inn.

Marc Millon, Kenyon College 1977 and Kim Jordan Millon, University of Exeter 1978, are the author/photographer of 14 books on wine, food and travel. They have also contributed to a number of magazines and newspapers on both sides of the Atlantic. Marc is a Patron of Oxford Gastronomica, Oxford Brookes University’s centre for food and culture studies, and he organises and lectures on gastronomic cultural tours to Italy and France for Martin Randall Travel. They have their own small wine company, Vino Ltd, importing wines directly from small Italian wine estates.

Dear Kenyon,

For so very many years the Kenyon pennant has proudly hung behind the bar as a reminder of our association with the Kenyon programme in Exeter.
Over 40 years ago the Kenyon programme commenced and the celebration of ‘Thanksgiving’ has been held in our malt house for so many of those years. I have early and fond memories, of a particular year when Professor and Mrs Crump lived nearby and in that year, Mrs Crump prepared the Thanksgiving meal and brought it to the Inn, I recall, my daughter, who was around 7 years of age, walking up and down the hill with myself, fetching and carrying dishes of brussel sprouts!  Now Riannon is 35 years, with children of her own, Amelia and Beatrice, who will no doubt help at ‘Thanksgiving’ in the future !
Professor and Mrs Crump became so fond of Topsham that they shared their time living in Topsham and across the seas, we miss them.
Topsham has also become the home of Marc Millon, who came on the first Kenyon programme and has made his life here with his family and over those years has become a friend of the Bridge and very much a part of the Topsham community.
I also have very fond memories of one year when Dana Mondo, Tyler Meier and Riley Hanick became very much a part of the Bridge, not only researching the Inn, but also doing an occasional bar shift, I often think of them.
From the early days of ‘Thanksgiving’, you have always so kindly invited my family and staff to share your ‘Thanksgiving’ dinner, all of us balancing a plate of roast Turkey with all the trimmings on our laps, trying not to spill the gravy!  I always remember Phyllis and Norman, my dear parents doing the same, enjoying being with you and meeting new young people. After the days of Mrs Crump doing the catering, Maureen took over cooking the vegetables and her wonderful pumpkin pie, with Devon clotted cream though, it all appears and Arthur’s , our local butcher arrives with the cooked, steaming turkeys, and somehow it all comes together, in an Inn that does not do ‘sit down’ hot meals, except for this one special celebration.
Over so many years it has been a privilege to meet all you who have led the programme and your students.
We have recently said farewell to Kim and look forward to seeing David Lynn, who has returned to Topsham many times now.

All good wishes and thanks,

Caroline Cheffers-Heard and family, Bridge Inn, Topsham