The Prez perspective
University President R. Bowen Loftin illustrates gameday from the bowtie's eye view
Published: Thursday, October 31, 2013
Updated: Thursday, October 31, 2013 21:10
Gameday can come and go for students, with little concern paid to a schedule or plan. They stand, they yell, they leave.
University President R. Bowen Loftin’s day is a little different, but it begins with a walk from his house through Spence Park to the MSC.
“I get stopped along the way,” Loftin said. “What normally is five minutes takes 45 minutes. I allow time to talk to people and take pictures.”
His first event of the day is the presidential pregame luncheon, which usually has 200-400 people in attendance. MSC Hospitality members hold doors open, greet guests with a “Howdy” and direct guests to their seats.
Amy Carthel, senior communication major and MSC Hospitality member, said she enjoys having the opportunity to represent the student body at the luncheon.
“Because Hospitality is the only student organization at this event every week, it is an honor to be in the presence of so many cherished and honored Aggies as well as being able to welcome guests from all across the SEC,” Carthel said.
After the reception, Loftin goes to review the Corps of Cadets before they march into the stadium, led by the cavalry.
“A couple of times a year my wife rides with the cavalry,” Loftin said. “When she does that, I walk behind with the sophomores who want to be in the cavalry and help them with the shovels and the wheelbarrows. I see this as symbolic of what a president and a husband should do. They sometimes have to do the dirty work.”
After the review, Loftin heads to the 10th level of the press box to his presidential suite to greet his 62 guests for the game. After kickoff, he heads to the field to recognize a group for leadership or the donation of a scholarship.
“Soon as I get free from that, I go to the north end zone and go inside all the suites,” Loftin said. “There are about 25 to 30 and I visit almost all of them. That takes up the first and most of the second quarter. I thank them for being generous to A&M and helping it progress.”
When halftime starts, Loftin goes back to the field to watch the Fightin’ Texas Aggie Band perform.
“I like to watch them on their level,” Loftin said. “It is really special to watch that happen. I usually spend time talking to members of the band and the Yell Leaders and take pictures. I shake hands with students sitting close to the field.”
After halftime, Loftin walks to the west seats to greet as many people as possible. Loftin said when there are five minutes left in the game, he goes back to his suite and says goodbye to his guests. Then it is back down to the field.
“If we win, I saw ’em off with the team,” Loftin said. “Then I go to the locker room to hear the coach speak. [Then] I hit several tailgates, depending on the time of the game, then I head back to the house about two hours after the game.”
Through all this, Loftin said he gets to see three to four minutes of the game.
“I do get the DVD on Monday and I will review some of the most important plays, but at the game I occasionally get to see a play if I am at the right place at the right time,” Loftin said. “I shouldn’t put my love of football ahead of building and maintaining relationships. That is the currency of a president. I am a people person. I love talking to people whether it be a police officer, janitor, student or former student. Taking the time to shake their hand, even for a few moments is very important to me.”
With more than 27,500 Twitter followers and 5,000 Facebook friends, Loftin spends about half an hour on social media a day. He said it is a good way to know the pulse of the campus and address issues first hand.
Many students are mindful of how busy Loftin is and they admire him for his dedication to students.
“Personally, I think it would be like a day in the life of the queen,” Carthel said. “Of course, everyone constantly wants to take selfies with Loftin and participate in the War Hymn together, but his schedule is very tight from what I can see. Making the rounds at the reception, knowing everyone’s names and affiliations and making sure you are on time or early to everything. Just like everyone admires the Queen of England, Loftin is loved by all and follows a strict schedule.”