July 12, 2013

Ursinus mourns loss of Ben Maliken '54

Ursinus College mourns the passing of Benjamin J.  Maliken, Class of 1954, an ardent supporter of the Ursinus football program and of Ursinus Athletics. He was a member of the Ursinus Hall of Fame for Athletes, and was a familiar face at Patterson Field, having missed only one football game since he was a student. 

Maliken, of Trappe, earned a B.A. in Economics, was a class officer and member of Zeta Chi. He was the key donor of The Kenneth E. Walker Memorial Trophy, which is presented to the outstanding football player at each Homecoming game.  Fraternity brothers and close friends Maliken and Walker played football under Coach Ray Gurzynski. Maliken was a four-year starter at fullback and linebacker and received MVP honors Walker was a halfback, known for his speed, and later was quarterback and team captain. After graduation Walker enlisted in the Marine Corps. During his final weeks of training as a jet pilot he was killed in a mid-air collision with another jet. Maliken and the brothers of Zeta Chi began presenting the Kenneth E. Walker Memorial Trophy in 1957, a responsibility that Maliken took on in subsequent years.

"There has been no alumni as dedicated to the Ursinus football program as Hall of Famer Ben Maliken," said Coach Peter Gallagher. "Ben has attended every home game since graduating. Ben's legacy will continue to be celebrated through the Kenneth E. Walker Homecoming trophy and the Ben Maliken Memorial Dedication Award given annually at our spring football banquet."

As an alumnus, he was a founding member and first president of the Bruins Club in 1967. The organization was founded "to help the College recruit good students who are athletically talented, and to help the athletic director and staff make student athletes feel wanted and needed at Ursinus."  He was an Alumni Loyalty Fund chairman and served on his Class Reunion Committee. At an annual December football recruitment event he spoke to prospective students and their parents and emphasized that their academics should come first and football second.  At home games, many parents approached to say hello and tell him that he is the reason that their child is now attending Ursinus 

"We are saddened by the loss of Ben," said Ursinus College Director of Athletics Laura Moliken. "He was a great supporter of Ursinus Athletics during his time here and after graduation. His dedication to our student-athletes were appreciated by coaches and players alike."

"In addition to being a great supporter of the athletic department, he was a great friend and a true gentleman and will be missed."

Recently, Maliken served on a committee from his reunion class which endowed the Class of 1954 Chair in Ethics, held by Philosophy and Religious Studies faculty member Kelly Sorensen.

Ben was married to Nancy Moore Maliken who preceded him in death. They had been married 57 years at the time of her death in 2010.

Services will be Saturday August 3 at 1 p.m. in Bomberger Hall.  Visitation will be 11:30 a.m. to 12:45 p.m..  A reception in the lobby of Floy Lewis Bakes Field House will follow the Memorial service - all are welcome to attend.

His obituary is at this link.