The University of Missouri Columbia named its new chancellor Thursday. R. Bowen Loftin, who announced in July he was stepping down as Texas A&M’s president, will now take over as chancellor for MU on Feb. 1, 2014.
Before becoming president of Texas A&M in 2010, the 64-year-old Texas native served as a professor of engineering and held leadership roles at Dominion University and University of Houston.
Loftin says he’s impressed with MU’s success and hopes to continue improving the university by building from its strengths.
“Change is normally something which while people fear it, is a good thing,” he says. “But it must be done carefully in ways that it does not detract from what’s already really good about the institution.””
Loftin says he plans on staying at least five years in the position. Some of his goals include attracting strong faculty members, collaborating among the University of Missouri System campuses and building university relationships internationally.
UM System president Tim Wolfe says Loftin was the best choice for the job because of his background at a university similar to MU.
“We were looking for somebody that really had a deep understanding and personal appreciation of a public land grant institution and the mission and the responsibility it plays in the state, national and on the global stage.” Wolfe says.
Wolfe also says Loftin has a personality that fits well for Missouri. Indeed, Loftin is often known for his popularity among students, his signature collection of bowties and his large social media presence. His current handle on Twitter is @aggieprez, but he says that’s obviously going to change.
“I picked up 400 followers last night – most of them Mizzou people,” Loftin says. “And I’ve had a lot suggestions coming already about which handle I should use. So we’re going to talk it through and figure out the best one.”
Loftin is the 22nd chancellor of MU. He is succeeding Brady Deaton, who retired from the chancellor position November 15.