Alumnus Jerry Moore, III, and His Contributions to Community
He has vision and goals. He has perseverance and commitment. He cares for those who are less fortunate. Jerry Moore, ’68, has used all of those qualities and more during his 17 years as Chair of the Board of Directors for the Greater Washington Urban League.
Moore has also served on the boards of the District of Columbia United Way Campaign, the Children’s Hospital, the Howard University Hospital Fund, and other organizations, but he won’t give up his service to the Urban League. He has also hosted a radio program that aired issues of community interest and has found time to teach real estate law at a Washington, DC law school.
“My main charitable interest has been the Urban League for a long time,” Moore said. “It is now an $8 million operation. We provide job training and job placement for African Americans and other minorities of every age and background. We provide financing for first-time homebuyers by providing them monies that they need for a down payment. We sponsor programs to assist senior citizens, too.”
The Greater Washington Urban League is one of the largest and most active of the 110 Urban League affiliates in the country. It has 60 staff members who provide direct services and advocacy to more than 65,000 individuals annually. “It’s important work,” Moore said. “We empower communities and change lives.”
Moore’s penchant for involvement was evident at UMD. “Even though I wasn’t a Minnesotan, I was welcomed at UMD and elected as vice president of my freshman class,” he said. “Later, my colleagues elected me president of our fraternity, Sigma Tau Kappa.” Moore said his years at UMD were memorable. “The four years I spent in Duluth were some of the best in my life,” he said. “I still connect with more than 40 people I met at UMD.”
He often answers the inevitable question about how he ended up in Duluth. Moore’s father is part of the answer. Reverend Jerry A. Moore, Jr. is a retired Baptist minister and former politician in Washington, D.C. He served as pastor of the Nineteenth Street Baptist Church for 50 years and was elected as an at-large member of the Council of the District of Columbia, a position he held for 15 years. Reverend Moore and his wife met many prominent people, including former Minnesota Congressman John Blatnik. “The congressman spoke so highly of UMD, my mother encouraged me to try it,” said Moore. “I did it for the adventure. I flew to Minnesota by myself. I didn’t know a soul within 1,000 miles.”
Moore credits UMD with giving him the ability to connect with people from all walks of life. “I relish the opportunities that UMD provided me to meet and know people from all parts of Minnesota and the nearby areas of Canada. Until then, my universe had pretty much been Washington, DC.”
After graduating UMD, Moore earned a Masters Degree in political science at the University of Wisconsin and later a law degree from Georgetown University. “Those law school years were pretty tough,” he said. “I was also serving as a U.S. naval officer at the time, so that meant I had to attend law school in the evening and be on station for my Navy duties in the morning.”
After graduating law school, Moore served as a law clerk to U.S. District Judge Barrington D. Parker. “We were assigned all kinds of cases where people claimed grievances with the many aspects of federal law,” he said. My service with Judge Parker gave me valuable experience that I have relied upon in my 30 plus years of private practice."
Moore is a partner at Venable LLP, one of America’s top law firms. His practice extends to real estate, environmental, eminent domain, and administrative law matters.
UMD has lured Moore back more than once. “I returned in 2002 to offer an alumni lecture on the practice of law in the nation’s capitol,” he said. UMD held a reception in Moore’s honor which was attended by former and present faculty members and a host of Moore’s friends and former classmates.
In 2008, UMD sponsored a 40-year class reunion. Moore seized that opportunity to return to Duluth. “I was amazed at the growth of the university,” he said. “I had to ask a student where the Kirby Student Union was, and it turned out I was in it!" He was also impressed with the expansion of the student body beyond the borders of Minnesota to not only other states but also to other countries of the world — including those in Europe, Asia and Africa. “When I was at UMD, an international student was someone from Thunder Bay,” Moore joked. “It’s really impressive to see how this small regional university has blossomed and spread its influence over the years.”
His wife of thirty-three years, Cynthia, a native of Jacksonville, Florida, joined him in Duluth. “She loved it,” he said. “I made sure that she got to Sammy’s Pizza, a regular hangout of ours during my university days.”
Next time he comes to Duluth, Moore hopes to bring his 13-year old niece, Sydni, or as he calls her, “Peapod.” “It’s a great university, maybe for her too,” he said. “She’ll love the lake, she’ll love Duluth, and I'm sure she’ll love the people, as I did.
Written by Cheryl Reitan