The Westmont College community is mourning the untimely death of Alex Moore, an assistant professor of kinesiology who died Wednesday from complications following surgery.
Moore, 31, joined the Westmont faculty in 2011. A Wheaton College alumnus, he was an adjunct instructor at Westmont for both the kinesiology and biology departments from 2004 to 2006. He taught a wide range of classes, including anatomy, tennis, physiology, biochemistry lab and Fit for Life, a freshman wellness class.
He met his wife, Kirsten, at Westmont in 2005 when she became the college’s head women’s basketball coach. They married in 2008, and their first child is due in July.
“The Westmont community has been devastated by the news, and we lift our thoughts and prayers for Alex, Kirsten and their families,” Westmont President Gayle Beebe said.
Westmont’s previously scheduled Faculty/Staff Appreciation Brunch and awards ceremony on Wednesday turned into a time of prayer and reflection in Murchison Gym.
“Alex was a bright light — he had a winsome humility,” Beebe said. “He played a unique and distinct role in our kinesiology department, and was one reason why the major is so highly regarded.”
Moore left Westmont in 2006 to accept a fellowship to study at the University of Missouri, which has one of the best microcirculatory programs in the country. He did so not knowing if a job would be open when he returned. While in Missouri, he earned his doctorate in biomedical sciences.
He returned to Westmont in the fall of 2010 as a sabbatical replacement in the biology department, teaching physiology, genetics and cell biology. He began the tenure-track position in fall 2011 in the kinesiology department, teaching physiology, biomechanics and a research course. His research specialized in microcirculation, focusing on hair-sized arteries and the regulation of blood flow to tissue.
“His love for knowledge, athletics and, most of all, his personal faith gave him an exceptional ability to contribute,” says Glenn Town, chair of the kinesiology department. “He was a bridge builder, seeking to bring people and projects together without pushing his own agenda. His engaging personality made it a delight for faculty and students to interact with him daily.
“Alex loved teaching and being a mentor. He had a gift for making complicated concepts understandable. Alex had a passion for bringing students into his line of research. He welcomed that responsibility and couldn’t wait to get started. He was at the threshold of providing our department what we need in our next step: hands-on research. He was highly respected in micro-vascular research, already being asked to contribute to the field at a young age.
“I shared with Alex a love for cycling, and had the privilege of serving as his cross-country coach when he was an undergraduate student at Wheaton. For two consecutive years, Alex was team captain and voted by his teammates ‘Most Respected.’”
On Saturday night, Westmont media relations manager Scott Craig said a memorial service is planned for 4 p.m. Tuesday at Santa Barbara Community Church, 1002 Cieneguitas Road in Santa Barbara. A reception at the church will follow the service.
The school also reported that Moore died from complications following surgery for Crohn’s disease, a gastrointestinal malady.
In lieu of flowers, Westmont has asked that donations be made to a benefit fund established for Moore’s family. Checks may be mailed to Kirsten Moore Benefit, Attn: Brennan de Raad, 2927 De la Vina St., Santa Barbara 93105.
Click here to share memories of Moore on a Facebook tribute page.