Loftin Reads to Bryan Second Graders as Aggie Presidency Ends

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BRYAN It's appropriate that one of R. Bowen Loftin's last events at Texas A&M would be a sit-down visit with students, but with Aggies gone on their winter break, it was a group of Bryan second graders that got the chance Friday.

Throughout the year, guest readers have stopped by Lindsay Cravatt's classroom at Mitchell Elementary School, and three days before his last day as A&M president, Loftin filled the seat at the front of the room.

Of course, when an important person stops by, you should probably dress appropriately, so the students in Mrs. Cravatt's class each donned bow ties in honor of the man who is rarely seen without one.

"I really like bowties, and bowties are cool, and I really like Aggies," said one student, Jack.

Engineering and computer science manuals like the ones Loftin could easily read through might have been a little above little heads, so they instead went with "Anna Meggan: An Aggie Cinderella Story."

"K through 6th period in their education is very important," Loftin said. "At about the 6th grade, many students make choices in their lives that will be for good or for not-so-good, so everything you can do in those first seven or eight years of education is so critical to keep pointing them in the right direction."

After reading to the sharp dressed kids, Loftin also took questions ranging from his favorite books (the Bible topped his list), to whether he knew a Becky ("I know many Becky's").

"Why did you want to go to a different university," one student asked. Loftin is heading to the University of Missouri to head up the Columbia campus.

"Well, I didn't start off thinking about that," Loftin replied, "but when they came to me and asked me to think about coming to them, I thought to myself, 'I've served Aggie students for a long time. I can serve them as well.'"

After more questions and a class picture, the students seemed to have a class-wide impression of their guest.

"He is the president of TAMU," said Zachary. "Of course he's awesome."

Part of Loftin's last day as president Monday will include a meeting with another president, George H.W. Bush.

Mark Hussey will begin as interim president of A&M Tuesday.