The traveling Tiger: Where in the world is Chancellor Loftin?

Since February, MU has spent more than $30,000 for Loftin’s travels.

Since becoming MU’s chancellor on Feb. 1, R. Bowen Loftin has visited New York City, Los Angeles and many cities in between.

According to public records, the university has spent a total of $29,284.65 for Loftin’s travel expenses from Feb. 1 to Oct. 9, the date of the most recent available records. MU spokesman Christian Basi said funding for the trip came from the general university budget.

Travel records were not yet available for Loftin’s trip to Washington, D.C., last week.

The records list 20 trips to locations across the world. Four of the trips were within Missouri, 15 were to locations around the U.S. and one was to Western Cape, South Africa.

The trip to South Africa was the most expensive, with a total cost of $10,160.17 for a flight, seat upgrade, travel agent fee and personal expenses. According to Loftin’s Twitter account, the purpose of the trip was to visit with the University of Western Cape, a partner of MU.

Basi said 12 of the trips have been “advancement visits,” which are trips to meet with donors or potential donors to the university that sometimes include alumni events.

Other purposes for out-of-state travels include meetings for the Southeastern Conference, the Association of American Universities and the Homeland Security Advisory Council.

Loftin also travels out of town with the MU football team for every away game. So far during this season, those trips have been to Toledo, Ohio; Columbia, South Carolina; and Gainesville, Florida.

According to Basi, these trips with the football team are paid for by the athletic department, which is why they are not included on the travel expense records.

Basi said the university uses Adelman Travel to book flights for out-of-state trips. According to the expense records, $460 has been paid to the company in agent fees since February.

Within Missouri, Loftin attends UM System Board of Curators meetings and other MU-related events. In August, he traveled around central and western Missouri to sites of MU Extension, a program that brings university research and education to locations around the state.

“This was an opportunity for him to see some of the programs that MU Extension offers to Missouri citizens and how Extension has a significant impact on the local and regional economies,” Basi said.

Todd McCubbin, executive director of the Mizzou Alumni Association, said because Loftin is the first chancellor from outside MU since 1996, he wants to familiarize himself with the university.

McCubbin said the association organizes the events Loftin attends with alumni around the state and country. He said the trips give Loftin the opportunity to represent the university and update alumni on current happenings as well as to personally meet them.

“We’re in the relationship business,” McCubbin said. “Our job is to maintain and create a positive relationship with each one of our graduates. When you have a chance to put the chancellor in a room with a few hundred alumni in different places and they get the chance to hear his vision and interact with him, they get a better feeling about what’s going on.”

Although Loftin has traveled multiple times each month since taking office, McCubbin said the amount of travel is not unusual for a chancellor in his first year in the position, citing former chancellor Brady Deaton as an example.

McCubbin said the alumni-related trips are usually planned based on where Loftin will already be for other purposes.

“We make sure to use his time wisely,” McCubbin said. “We keep in mind where he’ll be for other things and how can he maximize his time traveling.”

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