“Forever Go Blue.” Those three words are often used to communicate what cannot truly be defined by words: fierce love for the University and its community, the love that wide-eyed Wolverine-underlings only glimpse at orientation and eventually build through every late night cram session, every unexpected friendship and every game day throughout their time here. Until once the tassel switches sides, we can’t think to say anything else. Some students take that slogan to heart, caring about the University so much that they continue on here after receiving their degrees — students like David Moore.
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In 2014, Moore received a BSE in mechanical engineering in the top 3 percent of his class. He also swam for the NCAA championship-winning men’s varsity swim team, serving as captain during his senior year. After graduating, Moore returned to the University last fall to complete a Masters in Mechanical Engineering. Now that he’s no longer on the swim team, he has used his free time to soak up every bit of Ann Arbor and Michigan before he flies across the pond to study at the University of Oxford on a prestigious Rhodes scholarship. He is one of the 32 Rhodes scholars selected from 877 nominees in 2015 and the only one representing the University. He plans to use his first year of studies to get a Masters in Environmental Change and Management and an MBA in his second.
Sound daunting? Maybe, maybe not. Moore approaches learning from a broad perspective.
“I don’t want to limit myself to just working on one small aspect of this larger problem of affecting people around the world,” he said. “I want to think about the whole chain of events that needs to happen in order to achieve that.”
His end-goal is to design innovative, sustainable technology that can help solve some of the world’s biggest problems. During his undergraduate years, he was heavily involved with the Tauber Institute and Engineering Global Leadership honors program. Through these experiences, he was able to supplement his skills designing and developing products with manufacturing and operations acumen. He believes his future plans of study will “complete that perspective of design, operations, and business as a whole.”
But amid all of his academic and professional successes, Moore said a competitive drive will stay close to his heart.
“I’d say that I’m an athlete in all aspects of my life,” he said. “I compete, and I learn, I dedicate, and I set goals, and I would not have been able to achieve nearly as much as I have if I was not in athletics, especially at Michigan.”
Perhaps the most obvious effect of athletics lies in Moore’s unending dedication to community and teamwork. When speaking about anything — dealing with the pressure to maintain the swim team’s tradition of excellence while he was captain, the motivations behind his career goals — everything starts and ends with other people.
“I came to Michigan extremely motivated and ready to do really well individually,” he said. “I wanted to get all As, I wanted to join the swim team and do well with them, but the biggest place that I’ve grown is realizing that it’s not about me, it’s about the people that I affect along the way. My goal-setting has changed from … ‘What I want to do?’ to ‘How can I help other people become the best person they can be?’ ”
His term as captain was a way of giving back. His work as a graduate student instructor helping students learn design and manufacturing in Mechanical Engineering 250, his favorite undergraduate course, is a way of giving back. When I asked him if he had anything he’d like to end on, this is the advice he’s giving back to all of us still bumbling our way through undergrad:
“Enjoy every minute you have here. There’s no way I could ever give back nearly as much as what Michigan’s gave me. Every day I walk by the flag on top of the Union, and it just makes me smile and I know this place will always be my home.”
During campus tours for prospective students, tour guides take groups to the Union steps, where they point out carvings above the doors that represent the pillars of an ideal Wolverine: scholarship and athletics. For someone who loves the University as much as Moore does, it’s only fit that he embodies those traits so well.