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The Scarlet & Black

The Scarlet & Black

Senior citizen alum and admin does some serious lifting

By Shanna Nichols

Having recently celebrated her 72nd birthday, Nancy Maly ’61 remains active by taking part in the College’s Physical Education courses.

Nancy Maly, who is 72 years old, stands with a curl bar over her head in the Fitness Center – Darwin Manning

Maly, who is currently enrolled in Beginning Weight Lifting, has always been focused on keeping her figure.

“Early in my life I recognized and realized that after having four children, that if I didn’t exercise, I would be in a world of hurt, in the long term. I’m 4’11 and I weigh little over 100 pounds. I have always been small, but for me to gain five pounds, because of my size, would really be a lot,” Maly said.

Overtime, she says, being athletic has become easier.

“When I was a student at Grinnell there weren’t any opportunities for women in athletics. It was back in the dark ages, when women’s athletic teams didn’t exist. Now, I am at a point in my life where I have access to the Physical Fitness Center,” Maly said.

A few years after graduating, Maly came back to Grinnell and started the International Admissions program here—a program that has evolved since its inception.

“We now are bringing in international students on a regular basis,” she said.

For 24 years she has served as Grinnell’s International and East Coast Admission Representative. She lived mainly in New Jersey while serving in that position.

“I moved back to Grinnell in October 2007. I was the Interim Director of Admission from that point until June 2009. Now, I am an interim person in the Office of Development and Alumni Affairs and I am the Coordinator of Alumni College and Reunion for 2011,” Maly said.

She is also the President of the Board of Directors for the Iraqi Student Project.

After returning to Iowa, Maly was inspired after seeing the athletic facilities.

“I thought, maybe there would be a class and I knew as a retired person I could participate. Also, I have always had a secret inner desire to try lifting weights and I never had the opportunity before,” Maly said. “When I saw weightlifting, I finally realized a dream.”

However, she was cautious before signing up for classes.

“I approached [Women’s Basketball] Coach [Kate] Gluckman about my age. I was 71 at the time of my first class, and asked her whether or not it would be ok to be part of the class. She was very welcoming as she said, ‘Absolutely! Join! We’ll do whatever we need to do to accommodate you,’” Maly said.

Her classmates were equally warm in their reception of her.

“The class was very welcoming, I think initially they were hesitant to approach me, but eventually they were friendly, and helpful. I had an excellent time. I felt better—there is no question—I developed more strength, like in my upper body and in my arms,” Maly said.

In fact, the students become one her favorite parts of the class.

“In weight lifting, additionally to looking and feeling better, I love meeting students. It is one of my favorite things. After being in admissions for more than 20 years I know what Grinnell students are like, and how wonderful they are. For me, to be a in a class with a bunch of Grinnell students is the beautiful part.” Maly said. “I told the kids at the beginning of this class, one of the reasons I did the class was because I enjoy their company, and to be a role model, because you don’t have to be old and unfit.”

Maly has seen definite improvement in her lifting.

“Now I am on my second round of weight lifting and I am developing some goals for myself. For example, I can leg press 80 pounds—yesterday I did 90 pounds—and my goal is to be able to leg press 100 pounds. In each of the weight lifting exercises, I have some goals for myself and I am working hard to make sure I accomplish them,” Maly said.

Overall, Maly is most thankful to one individual for this success.

“Coach Gluckman has been a fabulous coach and teacher. I think she is just super,” she said.

Though she is a bit late to the scene, Maly’s glad she finally arrived.

“I am very comfortable in saying I’m 72 years old and that I am coming to this a little bit later in life. I have always felt that exercise and wellness are important parts of life for everyone. “

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  • H

    howardskiMar 23, 2011 at 3:27 am

    i am heading for retirement at 63. i figure i will work a few more years but last year i got tired of hearing myself say, ‘i SHOULD exercise.’ i am one of those people who believe if you cannot do it yourself get professional help so i hired a trainer. so now my girlfriend and i train 4 days a week, an hour and a half each time. it took 6 months i bet but it sure makes a difference in my health at my age. i am glad to hear of inspiring stories from others as well.

  • M

    MalyFeb 19, 2011 at 4:22 pm

    GOOO TEENIE!!!! im so proud of u ! ur like da best grandma eva. and ur right.. this totally made me lmao

  • L

    Logan FranklinFeb 18, 2011 at 1:24 pm

    Keep up the very good work, Nancy!