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UM System selects top academic leader from one of the nation’s most prominent universities, renowned researcher, as chancellor at the University of Missouri-Columbia

Current Texas A&M President Dr. R. Bowen Loftin also served in leadership positions at Old Dominion and the University of Houston

Dec. 05, 2013

Story Contact(s):
Christian Basi, BasiC@missouri.edu, 573-882-4430
John Fougere, fougerej@umsystem.edu, (573) 882-0601

COLUMBIA, Mo. – University of Missouri System President Tim Wolfe today announced the appointment of Dr. R. Bowen Loftin, president of Texas A&M University, as the 22nd chancellor of the University of Missouri–Columbia. Loftin will begin serving as chancellor on February 1, 2014.

President Wolfe made the announcement to the University of Missouri community today at the Reynolds Alumni Center on the MU campus, introducing Loftin as the successor to Chancellor Brady Deaton, who retired November 15.

“Dr. Loftin is regarded as one of the top academic leaders in the nation and one of the most beloved and respected presidents in the history of Texas A&M, and we are honored to have him join us at the University of Missouri,” Wolfe said. “His impressive track record of leading Texas A&M to tremendous growth and advancement, and sterling credentials in research, teaching and public service, make him the perfect fit for MU’s elite status as a public land-grant, AAU institution.”

“I commend the chancellor search committee for performing an extraordinarily thorough, national search,” Wolfe added. “Through their tireless efforts, we have found the individual who will lead our university to new heights in the 21st century with vision, energy, dedication and creativity.”

In making the announcement, Wolfe emphasized the need for a leader to step in and both maintain and expand the positive momentum that the university has seen in recent years in terms of academics, research, fundraising and athletics.

“His steadfast leadership and guidance elevated A&M into one of the top universities in the country, which is the kind of excellence we demand in an MU chancellor,” Wolfe said.

Under the leadership of Loftin, research expenditures at Texas A&M have reached approximately $700 million annually, while a new multi-billion capital campaign garnered a school record $740 million in gifts during fiscal year 2013 alone. In addition to spearheading the move of Texas A&M from the Big 12 Conference to the Southeastern Conference, Loftin also led efforts to acquire a private law school that was integrated into the university along with a merger between the university and the university system’s Health Science Center. Current enrollment at Texas A&M of 56,255 students in the fall of 2013 is the school’s largest enrollment ever.

“My wife Karin and I are excited about this opportunity to join the first public university west of the Mississippi,” Loftin said. “The University of Missouri-Columbia is an extraordinary institution in so many ways. It is a model land-grant university for the 21st century as well as the home to a truly first-class faculty and dedicated staff. The student body exhibits a deep passion for its university’s history and traditions and brings that passion to athletic events, student organizations and service activities.”

“We look forward to working with the students, faculty and staff of the university, the University of Missouri System members and leadership, and the university’s enthusiastic and engaged alumni to accelerate the university’s advancement as one of the very best public, land-grant universities in the nation,” Loftin said.

Loftin, professor of industrial and systems engineering, was named the 24th president of Texas A&M on February 12, 2010, after serving as interim president for eight months. Prior to that, he served as vice-president of the university and chief executive officer of Texas A&M University’s branch campus in Galveston, where he also was a professor of maritime systems engineering. Before joining the Texas A&M University System, Loftin served as a professor of electrical and computer engineering and professor of computer science at Old Dominion University in Norfolk, Virginia, where he also was the university’s director of simulation programs and held the responsibility for the school’s graduate programs in modeling and simulation. In addition, Loftin was the executive director of the Virginia Modeling, Analysis and Simulation Center. Earlier in his career, Loftin was a professor in and chair of the Department of Computer Science and director of the NASA Virtual Environments Research Institute at the University of Houston.

Loftin has been a frequent consultant to both industry and government in the areas of modeling and simulation, advanced training technologies, and scientific/engineering data visualization. He is the author or co-author of more than 100 technical publications. Serving on numerous advisory committees and panels sponsored by governmental and professional organizations, Loftin has received many citations and honors, including the University of Houston-Downtown Award for Excellence in Teaching (once) and Service (twice), the American Association of Artificial Intelligence Award for an innovative application or artificial intelligence, NASA’s Space Act Award, the NASA Public Service Medal, and the 1995 NASA Invention of the Year Award.

Among other recognitions, Loftin was named the 1996 Phi Kappa Phi South Central Scholar, the Shell Distinguished Lecturer (1997), the Halliburton Distinguished Lecturer (1998) and a member of the Academy of Distinguished Former Students of Texas A&M University’s College of Science (2010). He has received the IEEE Computer Society Meritorious Service Award (2005) and the IEEE Virtual Reality Conference Career Award (2008) and is a Charter Fellow of the National Academy of Inventors.

Loftin is a 1970 graduate of Texas A&M with a degree in physics, and also holds an M.A. and Ph.D. from Rice University, earned in 1973 and 1975, respectively, both also in physics.

“Karin and I have already found the people of the university and of the State of Missouri to be welcoming and supportive,” Loftin said. “We are looking forward to our impending move to Missouri and to building a network of great friendships.”

Loftin is married to Dr. Karin Loftin, who has held a number of faculty and staff positions in universities and health science centers in Texas and Virginia. They have two adult children and three grandchildren.

R. Bowen Loftin Photo: http://umurl.us/RBLoftin

R. Bowen Loftin Curriculum Vitae: http://umurl.us/LoftinCV

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