University mourns death of Dr. Zelbert Moore, Professor Emeritus of Black Studies

Dr. Zelbert Moore (seated) with colleagues from the Department of Black Studies, Scholars’ Mentorship Program and Office of Alumni Relations

It is with great sadness that the University shares news of the death of Dr. Zelbert Moore, professor emeritus and one of the foundational members of the Department of Black Studies, on Jan. 19.

Dr. Moore joined the campus community in 1983 and served for more than three decades as a highly respected scholar and mentor before his retirement in 2015.

He came to SUNY New Paltz after earning his Ph.D. from Temple University. He received his undergraduate degree from the University of Oklahoma, where he is remembered as that institution’s first Black journalism graduate and the first Black man to join the staff of the Oklahoma Daily student newspaper. He remains a namesake of a fund at the University of Oklahoma designed to support marginalized voices seeking to enter careers in media.

Core to Dr. Moore’s legacy at New Paltz is his central place in one of the oldest Departments of Black Studies in the nation. He was a trusted leader on this campus for generations of students, helping create community, promote student success, and encourage their engagement with issues of political, social, moral and personal importance.


Photo by Gabriela Jeronimo, The Little Rebellion, of Moore at a 2013 vigil for the one-year anniversary of the death of Trayvon Martin.

After his retirement, Dr. Moore stayed connected with the life of the University. An Army veteran, he was a regular presence at the annual Veterans Day Dining In ceremonies and other events hosted by the Office of Veteran & Military Services.

He also continued to share his wisdom and expertise with the broader Hudson Valley region. Among many recent examples was his service as a keynote speaker at New Paltz’s 2021 Juneteenth Celebrations.

We will share information about services as it becomes available.

If you are a student who needs assistance in processing this loss, the Counseling Center is available at 257-2920. Employees are encouraged to contact the Employee Assistance Program at 257-2886.