John C. Moore remembers a recent Owens Community College board of trustees meeting during which students made presentations, and he noticed something significant.
The students were as diverse as this country, made up of many groups and nationalities, said Mr. Moore, who made history earlier this month by becoming the first African-American vice chairman of the Owens board.
It was neat for me to speak to some of the African-American ladies and gentlemen who were there that day who looked like they really wanted me to talk to them.
Mr. Moore, 70, who became the first black to sit on the Owens board in 2000, said role models are still important today for minority youths who don t get many chances to see African-Americans and other people of color in the positions he has held, from vice president of Society Bank (now KeyBank) and interim vice president for university advancement at Bowling Green State University.
You d think his days working in the old Toledo Trust stockroom handling deliveries would be distant memories, but they are fresh in his mind.
They remind him of what can come of hard work and determination.
He said he called Toledo Trust for a year before he was hired for the stockroom job.
In the late 1950s and early 1960s, the only jobs available were janitor jobs, said Mr. Moore, who works today as a consultant. I called the same guy for a year at the same time every Tuesday until he hired me in the stockroom. Nineteen promotions later, I walked away as corporate vice president.
Mr. Moore, author of A Positive Attitude is a Muscle: A Managed Stress Survivor s Manual, retired from BGSU in 1998. He promotes the book in his spare time, but said his schedule of 12-hour days and six-day weeks is history.
He said he s enjoying spending time with his wife, Alvetta, and their grandchildren.
I don t carry a calendar, I don t wear a watch, and I don t have a cell phone, Mr. Moore said. I pick and choose the task I like to get into. My telephone rings quite a bit with organizations asking for help. I try to go through the ones I really want to work with and give them about 90 days, and may go back and help if they listen [to me during] the first 90 days.
He has served on a wide variety of boards, including the Wood County Economic Development Board, the Bishop s Educational Council for the Catholic Diocese of Toledo, Boys and Girls Clubs of Toledo, and the American Red Cross.
Mr. Moore, a University of Toledo business administration graduate, has sat on the Owens board during one of the college s most dramatic growth periods. The student population at Owens went from 16,805 in 2000 to 20,406 in 2005. He said previous board members had more to do with Owens current success, but he is helping the board shape its future.
Board Chairman Ronald A. McMaster said Mr. Moore s past work at BGSU as well as his business and fund-raising background have been invaluable to the board and the college.
Mr. Moore served as president and chief executive officer of the Bowling Green State University Foundation from 1996 to 1998 when the university set fund-raising records.
Owens President Christa Adams said Mr. Moore is a person she can bounce ideas off and has shown great leadership in recent years when the college seems to be bursting at the seams with students.
He speaks his mind and he s very persuasive, Ms. Adams said. He does it in a way that we all feel good about. I ve never seen an antagonistic moment from him. I ve only seen the leadership moments. He has higher-education experience, and that s extremely valuable to us. You don t get a lot of that with board appointments.
He is one of the original members of the Owens foundation board when it was incorporated in 2002.
Mr. Moore said the college s greatest challenges continue to be creative fund-raising and keeping its niche for providing a quality education at affordable prices.
Once inside the college, young people, particularly African-Americans and other minorities, must see others in positions they hope to achieve, he said. And he said successful minorities must make themselves available.
In any walk of life, they have to see someone at the other end of the table that looks like them, and that opens up the door that they can do it, Mr. Moore said. Individuals talk about that diversity is over with. It s not over with. All children don t want to be Christopher Columbus or pioneers. They want to know that someone has cleared the path for them, and there s nothing wrong with that. My job is to be as visible as possible.
Contact Clyde Hughes at: firstname.lastname@example.org or 419-724-6095.