Fabulous 50: Student Government Firsts

In 1969, Kathy Tiska became the first woman Secretary of NC State Student Senate and Eric Moore first African American Senate President (left image from 1971 Agromeck yearbook, right from 18 Apr. 1969 Technician newspaper

In 1969, Kathy Tiska became the first woman Secretary of NC State Student Senate and Eric Moore first African American Senate President (left image from 1971 Agromeck yearbook, right from 18 Apr. 1969 Technician newspaper

Fifty years ago during the spring of 1969, NC State's Student Government saw election of the first African American as Student Senate President and first woman as Student Senate Secretary.  

In the general Student Government elections on 16 April 1969, the student body elected Eric Moore as Student Senate President.  The Durham native and speech and communications major was the first African American in that position; in fact, he was the first person in it because it had just been created when a new Student Government constitution was approved a month earlier.  At the time, the Senate President was the second most powerful position in Student Government (it remained so until constitutional amendments in 2014).  The NC State University Libraries' Special Collections Research Center interviewed Moore in 2012, and he discussed the campaign strategy that won him the election

Chancellor John T. Caldwell posing with NC State student government members, 1969
Chancellor John Caldwell and NC State student government members, 1969.  Eric Moore is just left of the Chancellor.

In addition to his involvement in Student Government, Moore headed the Society of Afro-American Culture (SAAC), a student group that had led protests on campus in February 1969 and then again just days prior to the Student Government elections.  That could have resulted in tensions with university leadership, but Moore told us "I am pleased to say I thought I had a very good relationship with Chancellor [John] Caldwell," who later helped him get into graduate school at Ohio University.  Moore graduated from NC State in 1970 with a BA.

At its 7 May 1969 meeting, the Student Senate elected Kathy Tiska as their secretary, making her the first woman in that position.  The Goldboro native and liberal arts major was also a member of the swimming team, Liberal Arts Council, and Golden Chain honor society.  She graduated in 1971 with a BA.

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