The Meakem Smith Director of Athletics and Physical Education
Dr. Nicki Moore, who brings nearly two decades of visionary athletics leadership and served as Vice President and Director of Athletics of Colgate University since 2018, was named the Meakem Smith Director of Athletics and Physical Education on Nov. 30, 2022. Moore became the 15th Director of Athletics in Cornell's storied history and the first woman to hold the position. She is the second director to lead Big Red athletics since the position was endowed in 2003 by Jack '58 and Diane '61 Meakem and Scott Smith '79.
Moore joined the Big Red after serving as Vice President and Director of Athletics at Colgate from 2018-22. As a member of the President’s Cabinet, she contributed to the University's strategic, and operational decision-making while developing and executing the Third Century Athletics Plan. Colgate teams won 11 league titles in football, men’s basketball, women’s ice hockey, volleyball, men’s soccer and men’s rowing. Teams had success at the highest levels, with football reaching the FCS quarterfinals in 2018, the Sweet 16 in men’s soccer that same fall, and the quarterfinals in women’s ice hockey in 2021.
During her time in Hamilton, Moore developed and successfully launched and implemented a new visual and brand identity for Colgate Athletics and overhauled athletics fundraising operations in partnership with University advancement. She helped raise $1.3 million to install the Biddle Project for football/lacrosse that included a new video board, plaza, and walkway. She helped secured more than $25 million in gifts in support of a new athletics center and increased funding of scholarships. She also hired eight of the Colgate's 18 head coaching positions during her tenure, and launched the department’s first plan to advance diversity, equity and inclusion.
Student-athlete well-being was a focus of her tenure at Colgate, and under her leadership, several new programs were launched and supported to enhance the student-athlete experience. Such programs included the Raider Refuel nutrition station, Wellness Advocates, Career Ambassadors, and Sustainability Partners. A collaborative approach to promoting mental wellbeing and preventing and remediation injury was installed under her watch, including the addition of sport psychology services, partnership with the University Chaplains' Office, and the installation of Real Response – a secure and anonymous communication platform for teams to report concerns, provide feedback and receive immediate responses.
During a three-year stint as Senior Associate Athletics Director and Senior Woman Administrator at North Carolina, Moore managed sport administrators for the Tar Heels' 28 varsity sports. During that span, UNC earned a pair of top 10 Directors Cup finishes, won four national championships and claimed eight ACC championships while directly supervising men's soccer, women's basketball, volleyball, football, and cross country and track and field. She was part of the implementation of the “Together, We Win” strategic plan and chaired the Title IX group that completed a comprehensive gender-equity review. Moore also chaired the ACC Senior Woman Administrator Governance Group.
Moore spent more than a decade at the University of Oklahoma in various roles, culminating in three years as Senior Associate Athletics Director for Student Life and Strategic Planning and SWA. As a member of the Executive Leadership Team, Moore assisted the Sooners in achieving three top 25 Directors Cup finishes while winning three NCAA titles and 19 Big Twelve titles. She led the writing, launch and execution of the “Sooner MAGIC” five-year strategic plan. She also served Oklahoma in academic and student life, psychological resources and strategic planning roles, founding the first comprehensive in-house counseling and sport psychology program in the NCAA.
She began her administrative career by holding various positions of increasing responsibility in fundraising, alumni relations, counseling, and teaching at the University of Missouri, University of California Davis and University of Nevada Las Vegas prior to joining Oklahoma.