NJCU Mourns the Passing of Former Board Chairman John J. Moore `56, Board of Trustees Chair Emeritus and Athletics Hall of Famer

January 21, 2022
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JERSEY CITY, N.J. | New Jersey City University (NJCU) is mourning the passing of John J. Moore, L.L.M., `56, the former Chair of the Board of Trustees Chair and current Trustee Emeritus and NJCU Athletics Hall of Famer. One of the most influential alumni and leaders in NJCU’s history since arriving on campus in 1952, Mr. Moore died at his home in Teaneck, N.J. on January 14, 2022 — 10 days shy of his 89th birthday.

A teacher, lawyer, and prominent educational advocate, Moore, 88, was appointed to the Board of Trustees of then-Jersey City State College in 1982, was named the Chairman of the Board in 1989, and served for a total of two decades in the pivotal leadership role — longer than any other person in its history — and 27 total years on the Board of Trustees, before stepping down in 2009.

Dr. Sue Henderson, President of New Jersey City University said “John Moore is one of the most distinguished alumni and influential leaders in the history of this university. His deep love for his alma mater was evident in his words and his actions and his vision and foresight for what NJCU could and should be will have a long-lasting imprint. John lived the university’s mission through and through. While he will be missed, John has impacted generations of Gothic Knights through his work and earned the respect and admiration of many. Our thoughts and prayers go out to his wife Carmela, his children and grandchildren and extended family and all who knew and loved him.”

John Moore pictured with former presidents Bill Maxwell and Carlos Hernandez.

Dr. Carlos Hernandez, NJCU’s 11th President from 1993-2012, fondly remembered his friend and colleague. “John has a unique place in the university's history and in New Jersey higher education in general. His commitment and love for the students we serve, for public higher education and his steadfast loyalty were the hallmarks of his incredibly wonderful and beneficial leadership of the Board of Trustees of the University. I credit John with my presidency. He convinced me to apply when my predecessor, Bill Maxwell retired. John was always there to support the institution and my vision for its future, and he always had the respect of his fellow board members because of his internal drive to do what was best for the University”

During his tenure, Moore oversaw the expansion and formal transition of the college to New Jersey City University in 1998. He also served as a founding member of the New Jersey Governing Board of State Colleges from 1985-1990 — the precursor of the New Jersey Association of State Colleges and Universities (NJASCU) — the Board's inaugural Chairman in 1985, and a member of the Board of Higher of Education for the State of New Jersey from 1985-1987, where he worked to secure childcare funding on behalf of single mothers returning to school. 

Joseph F. Scott, the current Chair of the NJCU Board of Trustees, said “On behalf of the board, we are eternally grateful for his service to the university. While most of us currently on the Board did not have the benefit of serving alongside John while he was Chair, his devotion and loyalty to NJCU, its mission to provide life-changing social mobility for its students, and his desire for the university to thrive for generations to come, was clear to all who knew him and will certainly live on.”

On November 11 1989, Moore was inducted into the Jersey City State College Athletic Hall of Fame, now known as the Lawrence R. Schiner Athletics Hall of Fame, for his collegiate basketball career at the institution and for his later work as a leading contributor. He was instrumental in promoting support for the renovation of the Tidelands Athletic complex — now known as the Thomas M. Gerrity Athletic Complex — and other athletic projects. He was the board’s leading supporter of increased resources and improved facilities for the athletic program and a strong advocate of the importance of athletics in the life of the college.

On December 7, 2004, upon the recommendation of the University Senate, Moore received the ultimate honor when the university board voted to rename the Athletic and Fitness Center in his honor, officially dedicating the John J. Moore Athletics and Fitness Center on March 22, 2005. Commonly known as ‘The JMAC’, the facility, which opened in 1994, is the focal point for the NJCU athletic department and home court to Moore’s beloved Gothic Knights, including the basketball, volleyball and now wrestling programs. Moore was also a long-time member of the Green and Gold Club, NJCU’s previous athletics booster organization.

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Before John Moore was an influential attorney and leader of the university, he was a lightning-quick point guard in the early and mid 1950s and a two-year captain of NJCU's basketball team.

“There was no one who cared more about the university than John,” recalled Rafael Perez, Esq., former Chair of the NJCU Board of Trustees [2009-2021], who succeeded Moore in the role after originally joining the Board under Moore’s leadership in 1999. “He was the consummate NJCU supporter and fan and truly personified the good things about the university. John was a caring individual and a warm and funny man who cared about individuals from all walks of life. He was just a wonderful man.”

“He was always very independent and felt the university should act independently too,” Perez added. “Even though he served on other boards that promoted higher education throughout the state, he embraced the idea that the university and Board of Trustees needed to be independent. That legacy has carried on.”

Hernandez noted “John came to the institution as one of the first male students, along with Bill Maxwell, admitted through the GI Bill. He grew up knowing the institution and its importance to our local community and its very special mission. John truly lived that mission. It was his personal journey and life’s work. Even as an attorney, the mission of serving underrepresented individuals was always at the center of what he did. He carried that mission extremely well when he was first appointed as a member of the board of the Development Fund of the College and then certainly in his tenure as chair of the Board of Trustees. He never let the mission down. He adored it and championed it, and when the chips were down in Trenton with any act that might negatively impact the institution, he was one of the first to fight for his alma mater.”

Born on January 24, 1933 in West New York, N.J., Moore was the oldest of seven children. Known throughout his life for an extraordinary work ethic, he joined the workforce at age seven. He later attended Memorial High School in West New York, N.J. and continued to support his family, at various points leaving school to work double shifts at the embroidery factories.

He applied to then-Jersey City State Teachers College and was accepted on a scholarship, an experience that would change his life forever and light the torch for an eight-decade love for the institution. A standout men’s basketball point guard under Coach Dr. John Reckzeh from 1952-56, he was one of its earliest stars and led the program as a two-year captain, before graduating in 1956 with a Bachelor of Arts in Education.

Shawn Tucker, Associate Vice President and Director of Athletics, said “When I arrived at NJCU in 2018, I quickly learned about the decades-long impact Mr. Moore had on his alma mater, and his passion for NJCU athletics, especially our basketball programs, for which he once starred. While we will mourn his passing, we will continue to celebrate his life as one of the greatest Gothic Knights who ever lived. NJCU will continue to make him proud, and his legacy will live on in the building that bears his name.”

Larry Schiner, who served as athletic director for much of Moore’s tenure, added: “John Moore was a gentleman of the highest order and a devoted alumni and supporter of all aspects of the University. I certainly will miss his friendship.”

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John Moore, pictured with Carmela, his beloved wife of nearly 65 years, were mainstays at hundreds of NJCU events over the course of his decades-long relationship with his alma mater.

Upon graduation he was drafted by the United States Army and following service in Germany, was honorably discharged in 1958. He returned to the U.S. and attended the New York Law School at night while working days as an elementary school teacher, graduating from law school in 1961. That same year, he was admitted to the New York State Bar and joined the Continental Insurance Company. In 1970, he received a master’s degree from New York University's School of Law.

He joined the New York firm of Barry, McTiernan and Moore as a senior partner in 1971. Along with his longtime partner and close friend Roger McTiernan, he oversaw a two-decade expansion of the firm. He served as a member of the Defense Association of New York, Editor of the Defendant, a Vice President of the Defense Research Institute, and the President of the Catholic Insurance Guild.  He retired as partner from Barry, McTiernan and Moore in 1985, but remained affiliated with the firm for years after.

Civically in his long-time hometown of Teaneck, N.J., Moore was appointed the first chairman of the Civilian Complaint Review Board in 1990 — the first of its kind in the state.

Moore was quoted in his later years as saying "I find myself to have been blessed with good fortune in my career, and more significantly, with my family. I thank them for being what they are and for being a part of my life...I am grateful for what has happened, what I have, and who I am."

Moore is survived by his wife of nearly 65 years and high school sweetheart Carmela, daughter Christine, son John and his wife Laura, and grandchildren Anthony and Giovanna.

A private funeral mass was held this week for the immediate family and a memorial service for colleagues and friends will be organized in the Spring.


Additional photos of Mr. Moore are available in this photo gallery. A full obituary is published on Legacy.com.

Ira Thor
, Senior Director of University Communications and Media Relations | ithor@njcu.edu | 201-200-3301