William Edward Moran was born on May 28, 1932 in White Plains, New York, to Frank Joseph and Margaret Mary Farrell Moran. He received his B.A. in English Literature from Prinecton University in 1954, his M.B.A from Harvard University in 1959, and his Ph.D. in Business Administration from the University of Michigan in 1966. A Navy veteran, Moran was also employed by Booz Allen Hamiliton and by the State University of New York, Stonybrook, before being named chancellor of the University of Michigan at Flint in 1971.
On August 1, 1979, Moran left Flint to become chancellor of the University of North Carolina at Greensboro (UNCG), a position he held until resigning in 1994. During his tenure, enrollment at the university increased nearly twenty-five present, seven new buildings were completed on campus, five buildings received major renovations, and the university became an NCAA Division I member. Moran also was named president of the Southern University Conference in 1986 and of the North Carolina Association of Colleges and Universities in 1990-1991. He served on the boards of the Greensboro Area Chamber of Commerce, the National Conference of Christians and Jews, and the Greensboro Development Corporations.
Moran, his wife, Barbara, and their four children: Kathryn, Kevin, Colin, and Christian, lived in the 1923 Chancellor’s Residence on the university campus. Upon his resignation as chancellor in 1994, Moran took a leave of absence from the university. He returned briefly as a part-time faculty member in the School of Business and Economics before retiring permanently from UNCG in 1997.
In 2012, the area previously known as Fountain Plaza, was renamed in honor of Moran.