Stevenson honors beloved longtime leader

It is the end of an era as Stevenson University knows it: Claire Moore, the vice president of student affairs, will retire at the end of the semester.

Claire Moore, vice president of Student Affairs, has served the VJC/Stevenson community for 35 years. She will retire at the end of this semester. (Photo from Stevenson Flickr)

From a 1967 graduate of the legal secretarial program at what was previously known as Villa Julie College, to holding the position of  interim president in her 35th year working for Stevenson, Moore has gone through many positions and seen just about everything. When she first started her professional career at then-Villa Julie College, Moore worked part-time as the director of Student Activities, and later opened up Residence Life and helped in the creation of the Wellness Center. Moore is a huge reason that the university thrives today.

When President emeritus Kevin J. Manning retired earlier than anticipated, Moore was asked to step in and act as interim president until the search committee had chosen a new candidate. Moore willingly agreed.

Moore has accomplished much in her time at Stevenson, but she finds it difficult to chose her most cherished accomplishment: “I really do think that beginning residence life, the whole area, and also beginning the Wellness Center are tied,” she said.

In order to develop the campus wellness center, Moore and her staff visited different colleges to learn a variety of perspectives on how wellness was addressed at each. They took this knowledge with them as they began to form a center at Stevenson.

Students have always come first for Moore: “All of our students have been very important to me. I will remember and be thankful for all of our students,” she said.

Without any hesitation, Moore said that what she will miss the most about Stevenson are the students and the relationships that she has built with them.  This is evident to anyone who knows her.

Kathy Wilt, the administrative coordinator for student activities, has worked with  Moore for 18 years. “She’s a family person. That is one of the things that attracted me when I first came here,” Wilt said. “I love that she loves family and she loves the students. That is one of my favorite things about her.”

Maumi Chatterton, assistant to the vice president for Student Affairs, has worked with her for 14 years.

During her tenure at VJC/Stevenson, Moore was crucial in many changes that occurred at the institution. In this photo, Moore celebrates the 5th anniversary of the VJC/Stevenson name change. (Villager file photo)

“We’ve been through a lot and we’ve seen a lot. We’ve been together a long time and I’ll miss her,” Chatterton said.  “The students are always the center of everything that she does, but she also remembers to laugh and to have fun.” Her favorite moments with Moore are when it is tough because they are always able to find the time to laugh.

Both Wilt and Chatterton say that they are happy for Moore’s retirement, but will miss seeing her smiling face every day.

Just as Moore has impacted many people, she has met and built relationships with people who have impacted her as well. They include all the students (past and present), former president Carolyn Manuszak, former vice president and academic dean Rose Dawson, president emeritus Kevin Manning and President Elliot Hirshman. She says she is thankful for the opportunity to have worked with everyone.

Moore has a lot of things she would like to do when she retires. In addition to visiting her brother in Wyoming, she said, “I just think it will be a time for me to do some volunteer stuff. I’d love to take these courses at John Hopkins that are designed for senior citizens.

She added, “The next thing is that I’m going to turn my alarm off!”

On Wednesday, Dec. 6, at Moore’s retirement celebration, Student Government President Kourtney Wells announced the creation of the Claire Moore Endowed Scholarship. Brittany Appleby, senior class representative, and the Senior Class Council had the idea of creating this scholarship when brainstorming for potential class gifts. This scholarship will be awarded to rising seniors who demonstrate commitment, leadership and service to the university.

The Office of University Advancement will release more information in due time about how students, faculty, staff, alumni and friends can support the scholarship fund.

The Villager staff congratulates Moore on a well-deserved retirement, and thanks her for her service and contributions to the university.

Lauren Novsak contributed to this article. 

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