W&L’s Legendary Volunteers: Moe Cole ’94 Margaret Thompson ’24 interviewed Maurice “Moe” Cole ’94 to learn more about his service and commitment to Washington and Lee.
W&L alumni give their time to their alma mater in many ways, including serving as class agents, on reunion committees, as chapter leaders and on advisory boards. This winter, the Development Ambassadors, Annual Giving’s student volunteers, interviewed some of the university’s longtime, high-achieving, legendary volunteers.
Margaret Thompson ’24 interviewed Maurice “Moe” Cole ’94 to learn more about his service and commitment to Washington and Lee.
Volunteer Roles: Cole is a member of the Annual Fund Council and served on his 25th reunion committee. He is also a past president of the Northeast Ohio Alumni Chapter.
W&L Background: As a student, Cole majored in sociology and anthropology. He was active in the university glee club and chorus, served as a peer counselor, co-hosted “Midnight Love” on the WLUR-FM radio station, and was a member of the ONYX-Minority Student Association. Cole is also an honorary member of W&L’s Alpha Circle of Omicron Delta Kappa.
Career: Cole has been a youth advocate for more than 25 years. After graduation, he joined Lighthouse Youth Services as a case manager supporting youth on probation and parole. Upon moving to Cleveland, Ohio, where he still resides, Cole worked as a researcher at Case Western Reserve University evaluating adolescent health programming. Currently, he is a health educator at the Cuyahoga County Board of Health with a focus on population health-centered initiatives aimed at improving adolescent health by reducing teen pregnancy and STI rates among youth.
“I will always do what I can to support our university while also challenging it to be true to its core values and to promote space for us all to exist together, contribute together and learn together.”
~ Moe Cole ’94
Q: How did you first get involved in volunteering for W&L as an alumnus?
I started as a chapter volunteer but stepped back for a while after serving as president. I got re-engaged during my 25th reunion when I was invited to serve on the committee. My perspective is, if someone is asking me to lend a hand, why wouldn’t I lend a hand? Service contributes to the W&L experience.
Q: What inspired you to become a volunteer?
My W&L experience was complicated. I loved W&L, then and now, but as a person of color, specifically a Black man, I haven’t always felt like the university supported me and people who look like me as much as we deserved (by loving us back). As a student, I felt marginalized and I was discriminated against both on campus and in the local community. When I was asked to serve on the 25th reunion committee, I felt that this was an opportunity to contribute to the conversation about equity and inclusion at the university, and voice that experience, not just for myself but for so many others who have never been afforded a seat at the table.
Q: What has been your proudest moment as a W&L volunteer?
After sharing my perspective at the 25th reunion committee meeting on campus, we were presented with options for our class project. Todd Ezrine spoke up and asked if there was a project option that might impact the experience I spoke of, and that led to a conversation about naming the Office of Inclusion and Engagement. It was one of the most human things I have experienced. Not only did my classmates hear that although we all shared an experience, it manifested differently for some than for others; instead of shrinking away from it, minimizing it or even disbelieving it, they came together and said, “How can we help? What can we do to enhance this shared space and enrich the W&L experience for all students?”
Our class raised $1 million to name the Class of 1994 Office of Inclusion and Engagement. I was so happy to be a part of this amazing endeavor.
Q: When were you last on campus?
I was physically on campus for my 25th reunion celebration during Alumni Weekend in May 2019 and have participated in some of W&L’s virtual events since that time. I look forward to a future visit and will definitely visit the new Class of 1994 Office of Inclusion and Engagement.
Q: Why should alumni consider giving their time as a volunteer for W&L?
It is an opportunity to be heard and to promote all the best of W&L with the end goal of making it better moving forward. I will always do what I can to support our university while also challenging it to be true to its core values and to promote space for us all to exist together, contribute together and learn together.