Al Moran Plans to Retire
After nearly two decades at Oberlin College, Vice President of College Relations Al Moran has decided to retire from his position as the chief marketing, communications and public relations executive for the College and the Conservatory. His last day in office will be next Friday, Feb. 29.
Moran plans to attend the March 14 Board of Trustees meeting to bid Oberlin an official farewell. “It hasn’t been a perfect ride. It’s had its ups and downs, but overall, it’s just been a remarkable time. I still hold Oberlin fondly in my heart,” said Moran. He said that the Oberlin community quickly became his family because he spent much of his childhood in orphanages and foster homes. Moran first came to Oberlin in 1990 as director of communications. He was promoted to his current position in 1997.
With recent shakeups in the administration, such as a new president and the search for a new Dean of Arts and Sciences, this may seem like a difficult time for Moran, given his high-profile position, to step down. He feels differently, however.
“This is something I need to do now, and I think it’s fine for the school, and it’s fine for me now. You have some good people on staff that will pull the fort until the new VP comes on staff… Oberlin has a remarkable future and has very strong leadership,” he said. “I have the utmost respect for Marvin Krislov. I think he’s going to do great things for Oberlin College.”
He credited Vice President for Development and Alumni Affairs Ernie Iseminger with assembling a strong Board of Trustees.
Moran’s Oberlin career has seen heavy involvement in a variety of public relations endeavors, from the institution’s branding and marketing to overseeing all of the College’s and Conservatory’s print publications and Oberlin Online. Other projects have linked him to the Oberlin Chamber of Commerce, Lorain County Metro Parks, the Boys and Girls Clubs of Lorain County, Northern Ohio Commission on Higher Education and the Nord Family Foundation, to name a few.
“I’ve been here for two decades, and the most fun I’ve had, and the most rewarding, has been interacting with the Review,” Moran said. He called the Review a “quality product, [with a] fresh, uncensored approach to the way the campus has been covered.”
Moran can be credited for Oberlin’s previous admissions catchphrase, “Think one person can change the world? So do we.” At the time, the school was juggling several ideas, but something was still missing. In a moment of inspiration while taking a shower, Moran came up with “So do we,” and these three words stuck. For nearly eight admissions cycles, Obies far and wide were hooked by this slogan. The success of the motto even prompted the service building to deliver a massive quantity of soap to his office with a note that said, “You should shower more.”
Before coming to Oberlin, Moran was an award-winning journalist for a number of newspapers in Pennsylvania, New York and Arizona, after graduating from Pittsburgh’s Point Park College in 1975. Moran also worked as the executive news editor at the Phoenix Gazette/Arizona Republic. A true journalist at heart, he said, “you cut me and I still have ink coming out of my veins.”
Moran plans to kick back and enjoy some time in Cancun, Mexico with no cell phone. Although he has taken two vacations to the beach locale in the last couple of years, he spent both trips “talking on the phone,” working to resolve situations back on campus.
Other plans for the future may include a book, looking “behind the walls, behind the ivy.”
“Twenty years behind the scenes….What’s happened? I’ve got so many stories,” Moran said. “I’ve already got a few chapters.”
“Do I look old? I don’t look old. [But] I should be retired at this age,” Moran laughed. “The bottom line is, people come, people go. The school’s still the same — same values, same egos, same character, just different faces…. It’s a locomotive at 100 miles an hour. And they’re going to continue moving forward. It doesn’t matter who’s at the helm.”