A year after he was formally inaugurated, Eddie N. Moore, Jr. announced on Monday, Sept. 25 that he will retire as the fifth President of NSU at the end of the year.
“Surprised” and “Shocking” are the two words still being used as members of the school’s faculty, students and the general public react to the news of Moore’s plans to step down
Surprise because he was offered an extension of his contract for two years, and shocked because he seemed upbeat in oratory during recent events such as Founder’s Day and the school’s opening session with faculty and staff.
There were no administrative or fiscal ills which gave sign that he was poised to walk away from his job as the university’s CEO.
Moore was hired on an interim basis in 2013 when the Board of Visitors abruptly fired President Tony Atwater after a brief tenure.
Atwater was given a position in the school’s Mass Communications Department.
Moore granted an interview with the Guide on the early afternoon of Sept. 25, hours after the NSU University Relations Department issued a news release announcing his pending exodus.
Moore told the Guide that on the day he submitted his resignation, Sept. 15, he asked his staff to find a note card where he scribbled a simple message telling the Board of Visitors (BOV) of his intentions.
According to the media release, the BOV accepted his retirement decision during a special called meeting on Sept. 25.
Moore told the Guide that he had no serious physical “maladies” but a second hip replacement he underwent last December has not healed as well as he expected and he is enduring some pain. Such discomfort, he said, has not allowed him to feel physically stable enough to exert the amount of “energy” he needed to do his job, effectively.
Moore alluded to the lack of energy during a YouTube video he crafted for the campus and the general public announcing his retirement.
“I don’t feel ‘Presidential,’” said Moore.
“My daughter told me that Franklin Delano Roosevelt ran a country for 16 years in a wheel chair. Well, I believe a person must lead by example and not be aided to get out of a chair or move about without physical limitations. I just think this is the right time to make this decision.”
During his tenure as leader of the state’s largest state-supported HBCU, Moore has made some significant achievements.
He hired new staff and imposed new guidelines and protocols over the past two years to help the school overcome sanctions by the Southern Associations of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC) which threatened NSU’s accreditations.
He said most of that drama was over the inability of the school to follow fiscal rules of the road laid down by the state, especially missing a series of annual audits, governance and academic credentials of faculty.
One area of growth has been in the NSU Nursing Department. Starting on October 4, the Norfolk State University Department of Nursing and Allied Health will host a site review for continuing accreditation of its baccalaureate nursing program by the Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing (ACEN). Recently there were worries about accreditation in that area related to graduation rates of students. School officials hope this inspection will reveal it has turned the program around.
Moore said after several years of stagnant student enrollment, this fall NSU noted an uptick in full time student enrollment, due in part to increased out of state student recruits
He said the numbers were not as bold for part time students and the school is still recruiting strong from a pool of recruits from regions up North and down South.
However, he noted NSU’s graduation rates “stand solid.”
Moore served as president of St. Paul’s College in Lawrenceville from November 2011 until it closed in June 2012. Before that, from 1993 to 2010, he was president of Virginia State University. Earlier in his career, Moore was Treasurer of the Commonwealth of Virginia and controller at the College of William and Mary in Williamsburg.
Moore is a veteran of the Vietnam War, where he earned the Bronze Star. He is a graduate of Pennsylvania State University, where he majored in accounting. He earned an MBA at the University of Pittsburgh.
Since the retirement of the school’s second President, Dr. Harrison B. Wilson who left in 1997, NSU has hired five Presidents, including Moore. Now the school’s Board of Visitors will undertake another search for a new leader.
But an interim President will be named first and Moore said he did not want to speculate on whom that would be at this point. But he did say he hoped his replacement would have some viable relationships with local and state lawmakers, and be familiar with the state laws” regulating the state universities.
He mentioned also fundraising and continuing the work he and his staff began in righting the school’s fiscal and administrative shop should be on the new leader’s list of priorities as well.
Moore said once he does retire, he will be spending more time at his riverside home in Suffolk and more time with his family and especially, being a “good grandfather.”
Moore said that one of his accomplishments was working to “reshape” the administrative cabinet of upper level officials at NSU, which he was advised to do by an old and trustworthy friend, upon taking the NSU reins “in order to move forward.”
He said he was not given enough time to install the personnel he needed to complete that goal. But he said his current administrative team was able to stabilize the university after a brief period of turmoil.
Moore said he hoped the next president will be afforded a longer horizon than the two years he has been at the helm in order to hire the right talent to allow NSU to continue to advance and compete locally and nationally.
“No, I did not do it all by myself,” he said. “When students walk up to me and ask me what I do, I tell them to hire the best people to do the best job for you.”
Moore said that recently he attended church with an old friend, former Richmond Mayor Dwight Jones. Jones’ son was delivering a sermon centered around the theme “people treading in shallow waters as opposed to going into the deep water to pursue greater challenges.” He said that NSU’s future leaders should be bold with policy and plans.
“Our (NSU) candlelight should not be covered by bushel baskets,” he said. “Our light needs be a lighthouse which shines.”