category: Faculty Emeriti - In Memory Of

Martin Arthur ‘M.A.’ Moseley

Professor Emeritus of Chemistry

M.A. Moseley

Martin Arthur “M.A.” Moseley (1912-1987) was born in the small town of Cowpens, S.C.

Moseley was the son of Mr. and Mrs. Martin Arthur
 Moseley Sr., a prominent family in the community. His father was the town mayor, and the owner of a local bank, cotton gin, and community store. The Moseley family attended the Cowpens Baptist Church.

Moseley graduated from Cowpens High School in 1932. As a young man, he developed a proficiency in piano and guitar. He paid his way through college by playing the guitar professionally in a local big band. In 1936, Moseley earned his Bachelor of Science degree from Wofford College. While at Wofford, he played the piano with the college glee club. He went on to earn his Master of Science in Chemistry from North Carolina State University in 1938.

After receiving his master’s degree, he accepted the job as chief chemist for Tablerock Laboratories, a pharmaceutical company in Greenville, S.C. He worked as chief chemist until accepting a position as chemistry professor with Gardner-Webb in 1950. He felt so strongly about the importance of higher education, that he took a pay cut when he left Tablerock Laboratories to teach at Gardner-Webb.

Moseley taught freshman chemistry, organic chemistry, analytical chemistry, and astronomy. He also taught a class in slide rule since this was pre-calculator days. Moseley wrote his own laboratory manual, which he used to teach freshman chemistry and analytical chemistry. He was also instrumental in helping to establish the efforts to build an observatory at Gardner-Webb.

Moseley taught for 27 years at Gardner-Webb. In his early days of teaching, he was known to commute by bicycle. In the 1960s, he transitioned to a moped. Moseley was famous for being seen driving his moped to campus while being followed by his loyal dogs. He would even let the dogs stay in his office or classroom while he taught as they waited for him to journey back home.

He was well liked by his students and colleagues. While he was serious about teaching, he was also known for his sense of humor; Moseley was famous for telling corny jokes in class. According to him, his jokes would help perk things up in class especially if students were struggling.

Moseley was a regular at local elementary schools where he put on chemistry magic shows. He taught them that science, even though heavily factual, could be fun. In his magic show, he would create explosions, freeze flowers, and perform other experiments to fill them with the wonders of the discipline. Moseley liked the idea that science explained the things about which children had a natural curiosity. It was most important to him to help the next generation of students, to challenge them, and to teach them to be better educated people.

Moseley was known for saying that one thing he loved about science was he could see what a grand scheme God had created in the world and what a marvelous creation it is. According to him, a person could not appreciate God’s creation until one studied how it behaved and the mathematical logic that governs the universe.

Moseley received many honors in the late ’50s and ’60s. He was named professor emeritus of chemistry in 1985. While at Gardner-Webb (1950- 1977), Moseley also worked as chief chemist for the City of Shelby, N.C. He was a member of The American Chemical Society and The American Waterworks Association. He became a member of Boiling Springs Baptist Church. He and his wife (Miss Emily) donated money to the former Crawley Memorial Hospital to furnish one of the rooms, which was named after the Moseleys. There is also a room in the astronomy building on the Gardner-Webb University campus named in Moseley’s honor. He was very supportive of Gardner-Webb academics and athletics. He would make it a point to be at all home football and basketball games.

In June 1950, M.A. Moseley married the former Emily Dearybury, from Clifton, S.C. The couple had one child, a son, Martin Arthur Moseley III (Arthur). He grew up in Boiling Springs, graduated from Crest High School, and earned his Bachelor of Science degree in science from Gardner-Webb. He earned his master’s degree in chemistry from North Carolina State University and was awarded his Ph.D. from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

In May of 1987, Martin Arthur Moseley Jr., passed away; his wife, Emily, died the following year. The Moseley house is still in the Gardner-Webb Community, and there is a scholarship named for the Moseleys.

Source: Arthur Moseley – Mickey Connolly

Updated: October 2022 ­– Noel T. Manning II

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