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Brighter days ahead for NSU with new interim president

Jordan Crawford | 9/25/2013, 3:29 p.m.
Eddie Moore, Jr. is Norfolk State University's (NSU) new interim president.

Eddie N. Moore Jr. took office as Norfolk State University’s (NSU) new interim president last Monday. He presided over financially distressed Virginia State University (VSU) in 1993 and remained its president for the next 17 years—do not expect him to be at NSU that long though.

“I expect to be here two to three years, and longer if I, the board and the faculty agree on it,” said Moore, who was originally planning to retire. “I am committed to the green and gold and the improvement of its reputation both statewide and nationally.”

Moore was selected as interim president and CEO by NSU’s board of visitors with an 11-0 vote on Sept. 13.

The former state treasurer replaces Tony Atwater, who became president in July 2011 and was terminated by the board on Aug. 23 in the wake of some of NSU’s longstanding issues surfacing in media reports. Board leaders declined to state why they fired Atwater before his three-year contract was up.

Moore, 65, spent last week moving from his home in Carrollton, Texas, though he was uncertain if his destination was the president’s house on campus. His salary is still being determined as he and the board are still hashing out a contract.

According to Ronald Forehand, chief of the education section at the Virginia Attorney General’s Office, a contract may be finalized this week at the earliest but could take longer.

Moore is widely credited with turning around VSU, overseeing roughly $100 million in capital improvement projects, a 34 percent enrollment jump and a nearly 10-fold endowment increase.

VSU was in far worse shape than NSU is today, several have said, but NSU’s enrollment has dipped slightly over the past two decades while nearly every other four-year public school in the state has seen growth, state figures show. Recently, NSU audits are behind schedule and its two-year nursing degree program was sanctioned for performing below state standards.

Having “financial statements, that’s an expectation,” Moore said at a press conference. “You’re supposed to do that.”

He was set to retire after leaving VSU in 2010, he said, but he took on the presidency at St. Paul’s College, a private HBCU in Lawrenceville, from November 2011 to June 2012.

He went into consulting after that and recently had his eye on retiring again. But conversations with NSU board members changed that.

“I am committed to higher education, particularly the historically black colleges and universities,” Moore said. “And when one is in trouble - or perceived to be in trouble - and it’s in my skill set - which I believe to be financial administration - then I have to see if I can help.”

Moore grew up in inner-city Philadelphia and earned an undergraduate accounting degree from Penn State University in 1968. After serving in Vietnam, he was honorably discharged from the U.S. Army in 1971. He worked for Pittsburgh-based Gulf Oil Corp. for the next 14 years and also earned a master’s degree in business administration from the University of Pittsburgh.