Deila Louise (Larson) Sharp, served as Dean of Women at Central Michigan University beginning in 1940 for twenty-six years. She was born on December 22, 1899, in the town of Thompson, Iowa. She graduated from high school on June 3, 1912. Sharp married, but later divorced. She had one son. Sharp received her A.B., A.M., and Ph.D (1937) from the State University of Iowa where she majored in psychology. At Iowa, she was a Professor of Psychology and the Director of the Dormitories. The reason she left Iowa was because of the situation she had with her son. Being the Director, she was required to live in the dorms, but her son could not. Her son stayed with another family off campus, but he became seriously ill. After that, the boy was allowed to stay in the dorms, but in a separate room. Dean Sharp paid a woman $30 a month to watch her son, but her son would have to be out of the dorms by a certain date. To fix this, Sharp needed to find a deanship that did not require her to live on campus. She went to Western Illinois State Teachers College and became Dean of Women there. In the fall of 1940, she replaced retiring Dean Ronan to become Dean of Women of Central Michigan University.
At Central, she accomplished numerous things. Along with being Dean of Women, she contributed leadership skills to the Associated Women Students, the Panhellenic Council, the Student Senate and the Student Social Activities Committee. She also served as an adviser for various student activities. She was a Professor of Psychology and Education. Sharp served as President of the Michigan Association of Women Deans and Counselors. Sharp was honored with membership in Phi Beta Kappa, Sigma Xi, and Phi Kappa Phi, and appeared in “Who’s Who in American Education,” “Who’s Who of American Women,” and “Who’s Who in the Midwest.”
Along with her accomplishments at Central, Sharp wrote a book, entitled “Why Teach,” published by Henry Holt and Co. in April 1957. It was selected by the U.S. Information Agency for overseas programs. In 1964, her book was printed in Cairo, Egypt and was translated into Arabic. She also wrote numerous articles that were published in the Journal of the National Association of Deans of Women.
At the end of the summer semester of 1966, she retired as Dean of Women at Central. She was well liked by her students. She was able to understand them and show leadership that set an example for her students to follow. Her death date is unknown. (This information was found in her personnel file. The dates that are presented in this biography are the most accurate. Throughout the years, Dean Sharp wrote conflicting dates on numerous papers.)