John Walker Moore was born in South Carolina, graduating from Davidson College in 1906 with a B.S. He obtained his M.D. from the University of Pennsylvania at the age of 28 (1915). He came to the University of Louisville in 1915 and also had a private practice in internal medicine. After a stint in the Army, he returned to Louisville. He was named Chair of the Department of Medicine in 1923. When Stuart Graves, M.D. resigned as Dean, Moore served on the interim administrative committee for the School of Medicine. In December, 1928, Dr. Moore began serving as Dean and served for twenty years, the second longest Deanship of the School.
Through the Depression years, Dr. Moore obtained New Deal money to build an annex which housed the Medical Library, and he also had an extensive history of the School written by WPA workers. During Dr. Moore’s tenure, the 1937 flood utterly disrupted School of Medicine and General Hospital activities in Louisville. In 1938, Dr. Moore arranged for the purchase of the Pope Sanitarium, which he converted into a student dorm in 1941 and remodeled in 1947 at the first Medical Research Building.
Dr. Moore saw the school through World War II with the entire student body in uniform, and provided accelerated education of physicians on a three year, year-round schedule. Dean Moore was an expert internist, cardiologist, and an authority in blood chemistry. He was elected to the Association of American Physicians and was President of the Association of American Medical Colleges, 1945-1946.
He retired as Dean in 1949. He remained the Alben W. Barkley Professor of Medicine until his death.