Suzanne Moomaw

Suzanne Morse Moomaw

Suzanne Moomaw
Suzanne Moomaw

Specializing in community and economic development at the neighborhood, community, and regional levels, Suzanne Moomaw continues to lead a distinguished career in the nonprofit and philanthropic worlds as well as academia. She is Associate Professor of Urban and Environmental Planning at the University of Virginia School of Architecture, where she also directs the Community Design Research Center and is the academic lead for the Appalachian Prosperity Project. Her book, Smart Communities: How Citizens and Local Leaders Can Use Strategic Thinking to Build a Brighter Future (Jossey Bass/John Wiley, 2004; Second Edition, 2014), has been used by communities throughout the world as a guide for success. She also co-directs the Design Driven Manufacturing initiative in the School of Architecture with architect and faculty member, Jeana Ripple.

Before her appointment at Virginia, she was president of the Pew Partnership for Civic Change, Inc., a civic development research organization from 1992 to 2009. The organization was considered to be one of the leading non-profits in the community field. Whole Earth magazine wrote in 1998, “This is the can-do/we’ll-show-you-how civic research organization of our dreams….” Known for its innovative approaches to issues and processes, the organization developed a number of tools including a skills-based leadership curriculum, LeadershipPLENTY, to uncover and support the enormous talent in hundreds of communities nationwide.


She holds Ph.D. and B.A. degrees from The University of Alabama.


Dr. Mooomaw chairs the Board of Trustees of the Kettering Foundation (Dayton, OH) and is past chair of the Piedmont Virginia Community College Board (Charlottesville, VA). Moomaw has been a fellow at the Virginia Foundation for the Humanities and the Institute for Advanced Learning and Research at Virginia Tech. In 2002, she received the Ethical Leadership Award from the Content of our Character Project at Duke University.

The Community Design and Research Center