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Class Notes

TRIBUTEJesse T. Moore Jr.: Supported Students ‘From All Walks of Life’
mooreGRAND MARSHAL: A longtime professor of history and College administrator, Moore was also a fixture at commencement from 1990 to 2014, having served as University marshal, and later grand marshal. (Photo: Adam Fenster)

I met Jesse Moore in the early 1970s when, as a young doctoral student at the Eastman School, I set my sights set on doing research about the music of black Americans, something about which I knew very little. I made my way to Jesse’s office in the history department, on the River Campus. The only African-American faculty member at that time, he welcomed me warmly and initiated a long and productive mentor-student relationship. He introduced me to essential literature in history and philosophy that helped shape my research and, with assistance and direction from my Eastman School faculty mentors, I produced a dissertation entitled The Aesthetics of the Music of Black Americans: A Critical Analysis of the Writings of Selected Black Scholars with Implications for Black Studies in Music.

As outside reader for the dissertation, Jesse chaired my defense committee. At the conclusion of the defense, I was excused from the exam room for the committee to deliberate my fate. I shall always remember the moment when he emerged, beaming, extending his hand and exclaiming, “Congratulations, Dr. Burgett, and welcome to the community of learned scholars.” With certainty I can attest that there are legions of Rochester students who felt Jesse’s warm support, generosity of spirit, and unyielding constancy, as he helped them pursue their academic passions under his watchful eye.

In later years, Jesse turned to administrative roles, serving as associate dean of the College for much of the 1990s, and in the office of the University Dean of Graduate Studies. In both roles, he worked to recruit undergraduates and graduate students from underrepresented minority groups, and to secure support for those who ultimately enrolled.

His personal and professional dedication to diversity and mission to support students from all walks of life helped mold the University that stands today. Jesse died in April at the age of 82. He leaves behind a legacy of teaching, scholarship, mentorship, and service that is intergenerational in breadth and effectiveness.

A professor emeritus of history, longtime University grand marshal, teacher, scholar, and friend for more than 40 years, Jesse will be greatly missed. His remains are interred in the University’s burial plot in Mount Hope Cemetery.

There, he rests in peace directly behind the grave of Martin Brewer Anderson, the University’s first president.

It is a notable and worthy eternal association, one with which I think Professor Moore would be greatly pleased.

—Paul Burgett ’68E, ’72E (MA), 76E (PhD)

Burgett is vice president, senior advisor to the president, and University dean at Rochester.