John R. Loomis, a former alumni trustee on the Vanderbilt University Board of Trust, philanthropist and investment adviser, died March 31 from long-term health issues. The Larchmont, New York, resident was 90.
“John was a dear friend to Vanderbilt and strengthened the university in countless ways though his leadership and generosity,” said Chancellor Emeritus Nicholas S. Zeppos. “We’re deeply grateful for his years of dedication and service.”
Originally from Florida, Loomis thrived both academically and in varsity tennis doubles at Vanderbilt, graduating with a bachelor’s in business administration in 1951. Over the next seven decades, he gave back to the university in numerous ways, including serving as president of the Vanderbilt University Alumni Association before being elected to the Board of Trust in 2000. He also was general chair for Reunion in 1996 and 2001.
Vanderbilt benefited greatly from Loomis’ philanthropic support as well. In 1995 he endowed the John R. Loomis Scholarship to provide need-based financial aid for undergraduate students in the College of Arts and Science. In addition, he held various fundraising roles for the university, including serving as member of the national committee for the Campaign for Vanderbilt, the College Cabinet for the College of Arts and Science, and the Heard Society for the Jean and Alexander Heard Libraries.
“I’ll always appreciate what Vanderbilt did for me,” Loomis told Vanderbilt’s Campaign Courier newsletter in 1991. “It was an incredible learning experience, and I made many friends whom I’ll always cherish.”
After graduating from Vanderbilt, Loomis began his career at Nashville’s Third National Bank, but the Korean War soon intervened. A reservist in the U.S. Navy, he was called to active duty and spent three years as a security investigator with naval intelligence units. Discharged in 1955 with the rank of lieutenant, he transitioned to a career on Wall Street, working for First Boston, Faulkner Dawkins & Sullivan, Ruane Cunniff & Goldfarb, and ultimately First Manhattan Co.
Joining First Manhattan in 1974, Loomis became a partner eight years later and ultimately worked as an investment adviser at the firm for 42 years. First Manhattan put out a statement following Loomis’ death that read in part, “He understood the importance of treating his clients’ interests as paramount, and he carried that deference into every other aspect of his life. His moral compass was always true, and he treated all of his colleagues, regardless of status or stature, with dignity and respect. John would have scoffed at any suggestion that he was special, but those who interacted with him knew that they were dealing with a true gentleman. He was generous of spirit and provided valuable guidance and mentorship to countless friends and associates over the years.”
Loomis is survived by his wife of 60 years, Carol; his children, Mark Loomis, BA’89, and Barbara Liptack; and four grandchildren.