Obituary | Alan Moeller

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Obituary | Alan Moeller

Alan Moeller

Alan Moeller, 78, who served 36 years as assistant vice chancellor at the Institute of Agriculture and Natural Resources, died Aug. 14, surrounded by family at home in Lincoln. He led business, finance and legislative affairs for IANR and was noted for his effectiveness in working with Nebraska legislators on university issues.

Serving under five IANR vice chancellors, he established many of the institute’s business and personnel policies and contributed to a range of strategic developments at the University of Nebraska–Lincoln.

Moeller’s leadership was indispensable in moving forward with multiple projects, said John Owens, IANR vice chancellor from 2001-10. Moeller helped secure funding for capital construction projects including the Beadle Center; Food Industry Complex; Great Plains Veterinary Educational Center; Veterinary Diagnostic Center; greenhouse renovations; projects on the Nebraska College of Technical Agriculture campus; and IANR projects across the state.

He showed particular skill in helping address the complications in creating UNL’s joint Professional Program in Veterinary Medicine with Iowa State University, Owens said.

Moeller “was of one of the major contributors helping the institute moving ahead over the years,” said Martin Massengale, who was IANR vice chancellor when he recruited Moeller, then head of the Nebraska Legislature’s Fiscal Office, for the assistant vice chancellor position in 1977. “He was a really helpful and supportive individual for me. I depended on him heavily.”

Moeller was born on May 24, 1945 in West Point, Nebraska, to Roy and Catherine Moeller, and grew up on a farm northeast of Wisner, Nebraska, with his brother Don. He met Lana (Knudsen) Moeller at Love Library while both were attending the University of Nebraska. They married on Sept. 2, 1967.

After completing his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in agricultural economics from UNL, he worked for Cargill and the Nebraska Games and Parks Commission before his work with the Nebraska Legislative Fiscal Office.

In recognition of his contributions to the university and Nebraska agriculture, he was a 2014 honoree of the Nebraska Hall of Agricultural Achievement, among many other professional honors.

Moeller stood out for the breadth of his institutional knowledge of IANR and UNL. In 2015 he wrote a detailed paper describing the creation of IANR in the early ’70s. “His knowledge of the university and IANR was such a blessing for all of us,” said Don Wilhite, a professor emeritus in Applied Climate Science at the School of Natural Resources who founded the National Drought Mitigation Center in 1995 and later headed SNR. In retirement, Moeller worked closely with Wilhite on environmental issues through the Nebraska Elder Climate Legacy Initiative.

Moeller stood out for the respect he had among Nebraska state senators and staff members, Owens said. “They relied on his opinion,” Owens said. “He was an honest broker for the university. Alan was the best I’ve ever seen in that respect.”

In retirement, Moeller also was active with the Soil Health Task Force and was one of eight founding members of the Nebraska Soil Health Coalition. As part of his energetic service in the climate elder group, he “drafted a number of bills that were later introduced and passed in the Legislature, particularly some that were focusing on soil health and carbon sequestration in soils,” Wilhite said.

Moeller is survived by his wife Lana, sons Cameron (Shannon) and Todd (Jill), and grandchildren Owen, Hattie, Anna, August and Calvin; and brother Don (Connie).

“He was one of the best employees the University of Nebraska could have had throughout the years,” said Massengale, who later served as UNL chancellor and then University of Nebraska president.

“He was dedicated, trustworthy and dependable. He had the university’s interests at heart and certainly was a great representative of the university and the state.”

Moeller, Owens said, “was sort of the perfect example of the public university — and in our case, a public land-grant university — serving the people.”

A memorial gathering will be held on 1:30 to 4 p.m. Aug. 26 at Butherus, Maser & Love Funeral Home, 4040 A Street, Lincoln. A memorial service will be held at 1:30 p.m. followed by visitation with family and friends from 2 to 4 p.m.

Memorials can be made to the family for future designation toward Nebraska soil health.

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