Colleges Mourn Loss – Hobart and William Smith Colleges \
The HWS Update

Colleges Mourn Loss

The Colleges community is saddened to announce the passing of its Professor Emeritus of Art John Loftus. Loftus was a gifted teacher of studio art and art history, offering his ability and knowledge as an instructor to hundreds of Hobart and William Smith students.

In addition to his highly regarded Color and Composition course, Loftus instructed various painting and drawing classes, designed for artists and non-art majors alike. Loftus’ distinguished career as a highly regarded artist includes the awarding of the prestigious CAPS grant by New York State Council on the Arts, a grant from the Mellon Foundation and a fellowship from the National Endowment for the Humanities.

During his tenure, Professor Loftus traveled extensively in Taiwan and China, contributed to the design of the Geneva Mural Project and was instrumental in the formation of our own art department, faculty hiring and continued scholarship. He chaired the department until 1973 and continued teaching at the Colleges until his retirement in 1995 when he was voted an emeritus member of the Hobart and William Smith faculty. In 1991, the Colleges celebrated Loftus with a show of his work.  In 2004, the Hobart and William Smith Alumni and Alumnae Councils voted to honor him with the prestigious Distinguished Faculty Award.   

Before coming to the Colleges, Loftus studied history and philosophy at Southern Illinois University, graduating in 1946 after serving in the United States Army. He went on to earn an M.A. in art history from Columbia University in 1956 before Loftus went on to teach at the Calhoun School, the University of Colorado and Ohio State University, where he was co-chair of the Studio Humanities area. He spent from 1963 to 1967 at the Philadelphia College of Art, and was then recruited to become head of the art department at Hobart and William Smith.

A gathering of remembrance will be held from 4 – 6 p.m. on Sunday, Oct. 5 at Houghton House.