When Nancy Maly ’61 was a student at Grinnell College, many of her fellow students were native Iowans just like her, and only a handful came from outside the United States. Today, thanks to programs she worked on during her 24 years as Grinnell’s international and East Coast admission representative, there are nearly as many international students at Grinnell as there are Iowans.
Maly recently retired as interim director of admission after more than 40 years of service volunteering and working for the college, and she would love to hear from the alumni she has come to know over the years.
Although she could not afford to study abroad while in college, a high school exchange trip to Germany and the courses she took at Grinnell convinced her of the importance of global education. After teaching for several years, she accepted a job as the Grinnell admission representative and recruiter for the East Coast in 1974. Based in her New Jersey home, she remained in that position until 1995, visiting students in New England and the Middle Atlantic states.
One of her proudest achievements was when, in 1978, she was asked to write a proposal for the College to recruit and evaluate applications from students outside the United States.
“I didn’t know at the time that it was a marketing plan, but in fact, what I did was put a five-year plan in place for the development of an international admission program,” she says. In the ’70s, very few schools were recruiting international students, and Maly worked with representatives from those programs to develop recruitment strategies and policies for evaluating student credentials and financial aid.
“I’m really pleased, because I got to implement my proposal and stay with it long enough to see the international population at Grinnell grow from a handful of students to a campus population of about 15 percent when I left,” she says.
What Maly liked best about her work in admission – and what she’ll miss most – was meeting and getting to know students.
“Admission isn’t easy. It’s a lot of hard work, and it can be stressful because you’re traveling a lot,” she says. “And about the time I’d finish an admission year and be feeling discouraged, I’d start again in the fall and meet kids. And Grinnell students, especially the ones I got to know better and work with, just sort of restored my faith in young people.”
Maly left Grinnell admission in 1995 to work for the European Council of International Schools, but returned to Grinnell in 2006 to do some temporary admission work and then to serve as interim director of admission. Maly says that she and her husband Allan made a conscious decision to retire in Grinnell in 2007. She plans to volunteer for the College and community as well as travel to visit her children and grandchildren. She especially wants to retain her connection to the College and the people she’s met through her years as an admission representative.
“I got to meet and know most of those kids I recruited, and I stayed in touch with some of them,” she says. “I’d love for people to know I’m in Grinnell, and I would welcome the opportunity to see people or hear from students I recruited or who know me.”
Nancy Maly can be contacted via email at firstname.lastname@example.org, or by mail at 15504 Jacob Ave., Grinnell, IA, 50112.