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In Memoriam: Alumnus Dr. William E. Moore


Writer(s): Steve Scherer


Dr. William E. Moore died on December 10, 2020 at the age of 79. He earned a Ph.D. in Physical Biochemistry in 1967 and was the first African-American to receive a Ph.D. in our department.

Moore led teaching, administration, and research roles in higher education at several institutions. But he spent most of his career at Southern University Baton Rouge, where he was a faculty member and curriculum innovator in several administrative roles including: vice chancellor for academic affairs, chemistry department chair, and the first president of the faculty senate.

“Bill was a dedicated and passionate supporter of our department who served on our Chemistry Department Advisory Committee for several years,” said Purdue Chemistry department head and 150th Anniversary Professor Christine Hrycyna.

In 2004, Moore was named one of Purdue Chemistry's outstanding alumni and in 2010, our College of Science further recognized him with a distinguished alumni award. In 2006, the Purdue Board of Trustees approved the William E. Moore Distinguished Professor of Earth and Atmospheric Science and Chemistry and honored Professor Joseph S. Francisco as the first recipient.

“When I was appointed a Distinguished Professor at Purdue, I was asked who I wanted the professorship named after, and I chose the first African-American Ph.D. graduate of Purdue Chemistry to honor Bill’s major milestone. It was that bond that he and I shared. Bill had a distinguished career in chemistry in teaching, research and administration for more than 50 years, and his success was my beacon for the future,” remembered Emeritus Professor Joseph S. Francisco, President’s Distinguished Professor of Chemistry at the University of Pennsylvania.

Dr. Moore is survived by his wife, Willa, (who worked at Home Hospital while he was a grad student in West Lafayette) and several family members.

Link to Southern University’s story about Dr. Moore's life and career