Nicki Webber Moore is set to become Cornell’s first female Meakem Smith Director of Athletics and Physical Education when she begins the position in January 2023.
With Moore’s appointment, Cornell joins four other Ivy league universities with female athletic directors. Brown University, Harvard University, the University of Pennsylvania and Yale University currently have female athletic directors.
“I am very proud to be named as Cornell’s first woman A.D. [athletic director] during this 50th anniversary year of Title IX [a 1972 law that prohibits sex-based discrimination at federally funded schools],” Moore said. “It’s a step that is aligned closely with the founders’ original ‘any person, any study’ vision for the University.”
Moore’s appointment comes after the retirement of previous athletic director Andy Noel, who served at Cornell for 40 years and as A.D. for 23 years. Noel announced his plans to retire in March, and said he would continue to serve in the role until the University would announce a successor.
The search for a new athletic director began over the summer, and now Moore will begin her duties on Jan. 17, 2023.
Vice President for Student and Campus Life Ryan Lombardi announced the appointment on Wednesday afternoon to the Department of Athletics and Physical Education, voicing his excitement for bringing Moore on board.
“[Moore] is a seasoned, collaborative and strategic leader who is deeply committed to the success of student-athletes both within and outside of the competitive arena,” Lombardi said. “I look forward to seeing all she does to build upon Cornell’s rich tradition of intercollegiate athletic excellence and to amplify the tremendous impact that a robust recreational and physical education program has on the academic and personal growth of all students.”
Moore has 18 years of experience in athletic administrative roles at numerous universities including the University of Oklahoma, the University of North Carolina and Colgate University. She said she is honored to be appointed for the role.
Moore was previously recognized by Women Leaders in College Sports as the 2022 Football Championship Subdivision Executive of the Year, and recently served as the president of the FCS Athletics Directors Association.
Moore holds a bachelor’s, master’s and Ph.D. in counseling psychology from the University of Missouri, where she was a four-time captain on the track and cross-country teams. She is also an Academic All-American and the inaugural president of the Student-Athlete Advisory Committee. Additionally, Moore has earned postgraduate scholarships from both the NCAA and the Big 12 Conference.
“I can’t wait to get to work,” Moore said. “Cornell is such an exciting opportunity, as a place committed to true excellence in both academics and athletics where student-athletes can pursue all of their aspirations at the very highest level.”
In taking the new position, Moore will leave her role as vice president and director of athletics at Colgate University, where she leads an athletics program that includes 25 NCAA Division I varsity athletics programs, as well as club sports, intramural and recreational programs.
Moore noted that her two highest priorities as athletics director at Cornell will be to promote diversity, equity and inclusion and promote the mental health and well-being of student-athletes and the campus community.
Correction, Dec. 12, 11:10 a.m.: An initial version of this article stated that Andy Noel served as A.D. for 40 years. Noel has been at Cornell for 40 years, but has only served as A.D. for 23 years. This error has been corrected.