ST. LOUIS -- A bow-tie wearing Texan who led one of the country’s largest universities has been hired as the University of Missouri’s new chancellor.
R. Bowen Loftin, former president of Texas A&M, succeeds Brady Deaton, who retired in November after overseeing the flagship campus in Columbia since 2004. Missouri announced his hiring Thursday.
Missouri system President Tim Wolfe called Loftin, 64, a “dynamic leader ... to take our university to new heights.”
Loftin, a native Texan, stepped down as Texas A&M’s president in July after leading his alma mater for four years. He had planned to remain in College Station to direct an academic institute focused on homeland defense in the university’s engineering college.
At the time, Loftin cited an interest to return to the “front lines of the academy,” but on Thursday he said the opportunity to lead another prominent public university was too good to pass up.
“There aren’t many schools I would think about associating with after Texas A&M,” he said at a campus introduction in Columbia, clad in his trademark bowtie, this one gold with black spots, his new school colors. “Missouri fits all the pieces.”
Loftin was born in Hearne and grew up in Navasota, Texas, two small towns about 20 miles from Texas A&M, where he earned an undergraduate degree in physics in 1971. He received his doctorate in physics from Rice University in Houston and taught computer science and electrical engineering at the University of Houston and Old Dominion University in Virginia.
More recently, he spent four years as the vice president and chief executive officer of Texas A&M’s branch campus in Galveston.
Loftin said he first visited Columbia 40 years ago as a young researcher at Missouri’s research nuclear reactor. He also worked closely with Deaton and Missouri athletic director Mike Alden when Texas A&M and Missouri left the Big 12 Conference to join the Southeastern Conference in 2012.