A Family Tradition

February 24, 2016

I remember my father used to take us on Sunday afternoon,” John Maley ‘65 said. “We’d go ‘Let’s go for a ride Daddy,’ when there were eight kids in the family,  we’d all pile in the car and we’d look at all the snow sculptures and we’d decide which one was the best.”

UVM Special Collections
One of the snow sculptures during the Kake Walk snow sculpture contests.

These sculptures were part of a larger, annual campus-wide Winter Carnival, which included fraternity skits, the Kake Walk and musical performances throughout the weekend.

John Maley said his family was more involved in the Kake Walk than just judging the ice sculptures;  both his parents, Donald Maley ‘41 and Rita Maley ‘39, were involved in Greek life during their time at UVM and the Kake Walk.

UVM Special Collections
Snow sculpture built for the Kake Walk’s fraternity ice sculpture contest.

When Donald Maley was a senior in 1941, he served as chairman of the Kake Walk program committee, according to a Feb 21, 1941 Cynic article.

“I knew about the Kake Walk since I was a little kid…my parents were a part of it,” John Maley said.

I knew about the Kake Walk since I was a little kid… my parents were a part of it.”

— John Maley, 1965 Delta Psi walker

When John Maley came to UVM he pledged Delta Psi, he said.

He attended UVM during the “genesis” of the civil rights movement, something he said deeply affected the student body’s view of the Kake Walk.

“Watching TV there were hoses, mowing these civil rights people down,” he said, “and we thought, holy shit we gotta start thinking about all this.”

One of John Maley’s fraternity brothers, African American student Bob Nurse ‘64, gave a “fairly impassioned,” speech about how the Kake Walk impacted his black peers, he said.

Nurse told them that while the Kake Walk didn’t upset him because he understood the excitement as a UVM student, his black friends at home couldn’t believe it was happening.

Molly O'Shea
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