J. Carroll Moody
Contact: Tom Parisi, NIU Office of Public Affairs
August 27, 2009
DeKalb, Ill. — Former Provost J. Carroll Moody, a champion of NIU faculty and students who helped successfully defend the university from state efforts in the 1990s to eliminate academic programs, died Tuesday, Aug. 18, in Corpus Christi, Texas.
Moody had suffered for several years from Alzheimer’s disease, according to his family. He was 75 years old.
An historian who specialized in American economic and labor history, Moody joined the NIU faculty in 1968 and spent 31 years at the university. Beginning in 1974, he served as chair of the Department of History for a decade and later as the executive secretary of the University Council and president of NIU's Faculty Senate.
Then NIU President John LaTourette named Moody acting provost in 1992. Two years later, after a national search, he was named provost. Moody held the post until his retirement in 1999.
“Carroll was chosen to become provost, I’m sure, because he was so completely trusted by the faculty and all who worked with him,” said Lynne Waldeland, who served as assistant provost under Moody. “His strong academic values and his calm demeanor were very much what the university needed at that time.”
During the early 1990s, the state launched its Priorities, Quality and Productivity initiative, or PQP, which sought to eliminate a number of academic programs at NIU and other public universities across the state.
“His leadership style was open and warm, and these were essential qualities when he had to shepherd NIU through the PQP process,” Waldeland said. “Carroll was a firm believer in sharing information, trusting that people would make better decisions if they understood the situation. It was that leadership that saw us through the challenges of PQP, helping us to save most of the targeted programs and to avoid some of the internal turmoil that could so easily have been a consequence of such a process.”
Moody also oversaw the merger of the divisions of Academic and Student Affairs and convened a task force that worked to improve the undergraduate experience at NIU.
A native of Abilene, Texas, Moody earned a bachelor’s degree in history from Corpus Christi State University, a master’s degree from Texas A & I University in Kingsville and a Ph.D. from the University of Oklahoma. He came to NIU with experience and top credentials—along with a dry sense of humor and a hint of Texas in his voice. Personable and easy going, he made friends easily among faculty and worked closely with students, directing numerous theses and dissertations.
Deborah Haliczer, NIU director of employee relations, was a graduate student in history when Moody was department chair.
“Students liked Carroll as chair, and he got to know them,” she said. “He was a southern gentleman who could be charming, incisive, interesting and knowledgeable. He was funny, too, but he never hesitated to speak out about situations that were of concern to him. He was a person who supported justice for all students and employees.”
Carolyn Moody, his wife of 55 years, described her husband as a family man who loved NIU and the DeKalb area, where the couple raised their children.
“He loved the history faculty—that’s why he came to NIU in the first place,” Carolyn Moody said. “He made good friends and really enjoyed working with students. Later, when he became provost, he maintained a good rapport with faculty.”
Deputy Provost Harold Kafer said Moody’s spirit of collegiality left a lasting imprint on NIU.
“Carroll wound up having the opportunity to replace almost all of the academic deans,” said Kafer, who was hired in 1995 by Moody as dean of the College of Visual and Performing Arts. “He managed to build a group of leaders who collectively made collaboration across the colleges a hallmark of this institution—something that hasn’t gone unnoticed at the national level.
“Of the many things one can say about Carroll’s legacy, this spirit of collegiality has to be among the most important of his contributions,” Kafer added. “The culture he created has continued and become an important part of the fabric of the institution.”
In addition to his wife, Moody is survived by five children, nine grandchildren and five great grandchildren. A private service was held Monday, Aug. 24, in Port Aransas, Texas. The family requested that memorials in his honor be made to Alzheimer’s research.
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