For Ruth Moore ’52 MEd, pursuing a path of education was a natural decision, and a choice she hopes that her support will make possible for future generations.
Born in 1920, Moore was an only child, which she attests motivated her to make her own entertainment. With a natural love of learning, she turned to books and became an avid reader. Her mother had attended Montclair when it was a Normal School, and had worked as an elementary school teacher. Given the few career options for women at the time, Moore felt it was only natural that she follow in her mother’s footsteps. In 1942, she received her bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education from Trenton State College. She taught in the classroom for eight years before enrolling at Montclair State University for a master’s degree in Education.
“There wasn’t one teacher I did not like,” she shares. “I had marvelous teachers, fun to be with, and filled with knowledge.” Three in particular made an impression on her: Dr. Moorehead who taught supervision; Dr. Ingebritsen who taught child psychology; and Dr. Phipps for education. She recalls that there were two female professors in the department and pointed out that all the women – students and professors – wore only dresses at the time. “No one wore slacks…times were different,” she says.
Living nearby in Cliffside Park, she commuted to Montclair for night and summer classes. This included four classes each summer, “quite a load,” she recalls. Her concentration was in Educational Administration and Supervision, but upon graduation, she continued to work in the classroom. “Working directly with the children was always my true passion,” she says. “It was wonderful to get my master’s degree, I felt I had accomplished something.”
When asked about her favorite lessons to teach, she explained, “I always had a soft spot for Native American culture, and enjoyed the unit on this. Parents came and heard the children sing songs and give speeches. It was very nice.”
Moore taught elementary school in Cliffside Park and Teaneck for almost 25 years, mostly working with the third grade. She also recalls fondly that when she began her teaching career, her mother returned to the classroom as well. “We always had something to talk about.”
Looking back, Moore remarks on the changes in education. “Back then the career options for women and men were more rigid. Now more men are going into elementary education. It’s wonderful for children to see men in the classroom as well.”
Now age 103, living in a retirement community in Florida, Moore still keeps in touch with what’s happening at Montclair. “It’s turned into a model school. In my mother’s day, it was a Normal School and even in my day, it wasn’t very crowded. Now it’s a big school with many colleges and programs. It’s incredible!”
Wanting to give back, she joined the University’s Carpe Diem Society and included the University in her will to support scholarships in the areas of elementary education and nursing. Her passion for education is no surprise, and her appreciation for nursing has grown throughout her lifetime. “We need new nurses; people are sick and there is such a shortage. You can’t run your hospitals without nurses.”
Knowing her legacy will support future generations provides a sense of satisfaction. “I’ve had a wonderful, full life. I’m very grateful.”