Bill Moran had a front row view as chancellor when the Dining Hall was renovated and the Fountain was built, a quarter century ago. On May 1, he had a front row seat, literally, as the area was named in his honor.
“He steered this institution through enormously challenging times,” Chancellor Linda P. Brady said. A hiring freeze, budget cut, double digit inflation, belt tightening were some of the challenges he faced – but he was undaunted by them, she explained.
This day of dedicating the William E. Moran Commons and Plaza was “a tribute to a bold leader.”
Among his achievements, he led UNCG’s first-ever capital campaign. UNCG’s endowment grew tenfold under his 15 year tenure as chancellor.
He was responsible for many new buildings on campus. Chancellor Brady made special note of the Dining Hall renovation during his tenure and building of the Fountain.
“UNCG could not have become the institution it is today without Bill Moran,” she said.
UNCG Trustee Richard “Skip” Moore noted those two projects were the “beginning of the physical transformation of this campus.” He described what the area had looked like before its transformation, with a parking area and a bridge leading to the second floor.
Student Government president Chelsea Boccardo called the commons and plaza “an incredible space.” She added – speaking from the students’ perspective – “This will be remembered as the spot – where everything happens.”
Moran described the phone call in which Chancellor Brady told him the news of the naming. He is “still stunned by it,” he said.
He alluded to the history of the campus, using the Dining Hall and fountain area as an example. “This campus means a lot to me,” he said. He called it “a classroom in itself.” The students are learning as they talk with each other – and as they walk the campus. It is a convergence of beauty and function and order, he explained, and students sense that importance and stability.
In his story of UNCG, “Making North Carolina Literate,” historian Allen Trelease noted Moran’s years of tenure were marked with controversy and dissension. “Different constituencies, on and off campus, pushed in different directions,” he wrote. On this day, that was forgotten.
The large crowd of well-wishers on hand for the dedication were testament to the important place he holds in the Spartan family.
An endowment fund has been set up in Moran’s name at UNCG.
Trustees chair David Sprinkle, who provided the welcome, joined Moran, Brady, Moore and Boccardo in ringing the University Bell.
Three taps on the ball and then a final cheer as Brady made final remarks at “this marvelous event in the life of the university.”
By Mike Harris
Photography by Chris English and David Wilson. On main CW page, Moran speaks with well-wishers, including Terry Seaks (left with raised hand). On this page, Moran at ceremony.