Dean Jan Loft reflects on career as retirement nears

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Dean of the College of Arts, Letters, and Sciences Jan Loft is retiring at the end of this year.

Loft first came to SMSU in the fall of 1988 when it was still called Southwest State University. She was originally hired as temporary replacement for a professor who was on sabbatical. After the professor returned, she was hired for a one-year fixed term position. When a probationary faculty position became available, she was one of many who applied and was hired.

“I suspect I had a leading edge,” Loft said.

As a professor, Loft taught an array of communication and performance classes. She drew from her 18 years of radio industry experience in her instruction.

During her time at SMSU, Loft has served as the Faculty Association president and chairperson of the Department of Art, Music, Speech Communication and Theatre. Her experience in these positions made her an obvious choice for interim dean in 2011.

“I did not aspire to be a dean, but my experience gave me the foundation,” Loft said. “It had to be someone who knew exactly what to do.”

In 2013, Loft applied for the permanent dean position and was hired.

“Not bad for a sabbatical replacement,” Loft said.

With her time at SMSU drawing to a close, Loft looks forward to her retirement.

“I’ve always liked my job,” Loft said. “I never wanted to get to the point where I dread my job.”

Loft plans to spend her retirement doing the things she enjoys, such as riding motorcycles, traveling, and reading. She’s staying in Marshall to be near her family.

“I can still have a lot of fun,” Loft said. “I want to have time to do other things and enough time to do it well.”

After nearly 30 years, Loft says she is ready to say goodbye to SMSU.

“I am very blessed,” Loft said. “I’ve met some of my best friends here.”

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