Historical Development

Moore Tech (Wm. R. Moore College of Technology) is one of America's oldest vocational institutions.

“A Great Man with a Great Vision” is the origin of Moore Tech.

William Robert Moore was a nineteenth-century Memphis entrepreneur who overcame extreme hardships as a boy to achieve extraordinary business and government success. He was born March 28, 1830, near Huntsville, Alabama. At age 12 he went to work as a farmhand. For the year he earned $24, room and board. At the end of the year he had saved $12.

He attended school until he was 15, but was mostly self-taught. Mr. Moore subsequently became a retail sales clerk in Nashville, then a wholesale salesman. Then he moved to New York, where he also was a salesman.

While still in his 20s, Mr. Moore returned to the south, opening a wholesale dry goods business, Wm. R. Moore, Inc., in Memphis. The business became a great success and Mr. Moore emerged as a valued civic leader in the city. He also was elected to the United States Congress. Mr. Moore always had a great interest in providing for young people the education that had eluded him as a boy.

In 1909, at the age of 79, Mr. Moore died. He left the bulk of his estate to establish a college in his name that would provide, “. . . education and training of youths in the mechanical arts and sciences, including electricity, and the operation and maintenance of a manual and scientific training institution.”

A board of trustees was selected from among the most prominent leaders in Memphis. They chartered The Wm. R. Moore School of Technology to be operated in the, “. . . methods and principles observed in the best institutions.” The board invested the money, and when Mrs. Moore died, she left the balance of the estate to the college. The total funds allowed the trustees to begin construction of the school in 1938. Its first class convened in January of 1939 at its present location, 1200 Poplar Avenue. 

Mr. Moore’s dream has continued uninterrupted. Initially no tuition was charged. Today the college works hard on ensuring to keep tuition costs down and makes sure to help students with grants, scholarships, and Pell funding to cover costs. The college curricula has evolved over the years to keep up with the needs of a changing job market. Moore Tech has provided important vocational training to tens of thousands of students throughout the mid-south.



Moore Tech is an independent, non-profit, post-secondary college. Our objective is to teach men and women how to earn a living by providing the knowledge and skills necessary to succeed in a specific technical vocation. In all our philosophies, concepts, and functions, Moore Tech reflects the worth of the individual, while serving the needs of both the individual and industry. 

The college is dedicated to provide quality programs of instruction which not only recognize the importance of technical knowledge and the development of skills, but also the need to develop quality work habits and attitudes.

We recognize the fundamental need to develop the skills and knowledge of students to fulfill the critical manpower needs of industry. The college provides intensive and practical courses designed to enable graduates to become employable upon graduation.