ITHACA, N.Y.—Nicki Moore has been named the first female Meakem Smith Director of Athletics and Physical Education at Cornell University.

Moore will assume her position on Jan. 17, 2023, as announced by Ryan Lombardi, vice president for student and campus life.

University President Martha Pollack said that “Dr. Moore’s expertise and commitment will be a tremendous asset to our community, and she is an excellent choice to lead and strengthen those programs in the years ahead.”

Moore’s previous experience in athletic administration includes roles at the University of Oklahoma, University of North Carolina and Colgate University. Moore’s appointment makes Cornell University the fifth Ivy League school to have a female athletics director, according to a press release sent on Nov. 30.

“Cornell is such an exciting opportunity, as a place committed to true excellence in both academics and athletics where student-athletes can pursue all of their aspirations at the very highest level,” Moore said.

Moore is succeeding J. Andrew Noel who has been directing athletics at Cornell since 1999 following his 14 years as the Big Red’s head wrestling coach.

“Nicki is a seasoned, collaborative and strategic leader who is deeply committed to the success of student-athletes both within and outside of the competitive arena. I look forward to seeing all she does to build upon Cornell’s rich tradition of intercollegiate athletic excellence and to amplify the tremendous impact that a robust recreational and physical education program has on the academic and personal growth of all students,” Lombardi said.

Moore also said that she is honored and excited to begin her new position and that she is proud to become the school’s first female athletic director during the 50th anniversary year of Title IX. “While it is so encouraging to see more women getting the chance to lead in these kinds of roles at this level, ultimately the true value of this progress will lie in how successfully we execute around our mission,” she said.

Zoë Freer-Hessler is the digital editor/reporter for the Ithaca Voice. Joining in November 2021, she has covered a wide range of topics related to local news. She can be reached at,...