Psychologist remembered for expanding, improving BBS
Members of the UTD community are mourning the loss of Bert Moore, the longtime dean of the School of Brain and Behavioral Sciences. Moore died in his home in Dallas from pancreatic cancer on Oct. 20.
Moore came to UTD in 1980 as the head of the psychology department. He was named dean of the School of Human Development in 1989 before it was renamed the School of Brain and Behavioral Sciences fourteen years later.
Under Moore’s direction, the school’s enrollment grew from 387 students to nearly 2,500.
Moore also had individual accomplishments. He was named a Distinguished Psychologist by the Dallas Psychological Society and was well known nationally for his research on child development.
On campus, Moore was most recognized for the connections he made with his peers. For Marion Underwood, the dean of graduate studies in BBS, Moore’s kindness stood out.
“He was a very brave person, but also really gentle,” she said. “He was really good with people, very sensitive. He was very, very generous in seeing the best in other people and helping people become the best they can be.”
Moore was also the chairman of the search committee that hired President Ad Interim Hobson Wildenthal in 1992. Moore’s personal qualities, like his trustworthiness and honesty, stood out the most to Wildenthal, who was one of the speakers at the memorial service held for Moore in the ATEC lecture hall on Oct. 24.
“He made you feel good about yourself,” he said. “In that sense … He’s just going to be missed as a person who all of us enjoyed being with.”
Moore was also known for his commitment to civil rights and equality. In 1965, when he was a student at Southern Methodist University, Moore invited Martin Luther King Jr. to speak to the student body there.
When King accepted the invitation, Moore picked him up from the airport and drove him to campus. It was this type of commitment to equality that made Moore a role model to Dru Sherrod, who attended SMU with Moore and was his best friend for more than fifty years.
“He really was, for me, kind of a moral center,” he said. “If there was ever a hard decision I was having to make, I would run it by Bert, or often we would just call up and have nothing significant to talk about at all. But when there was something significant, it was important to be able to talk to Bert about it.”