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Alumni Feature 1

Francis B. Loomis, Class of 1883

Civic and Cultural Leader

Francis Loomis

A friend and advisor to four presidents, Francis B. Loomis began his career as a newspaperman, editing the Marietta Leader, his hometown newspaper, while a student at Marietta College. A year following his 1883 graduation, Loomis became a reporter for the New York Tribune and later assumed a campaign press relations position. Loomis returned to Ohio to serve as State Librarian for two years (1885-87). It was during the administration of President Harrison that Loomis first entered government service as consul at St. Etienne, France, remaining there and at Grenoble, France, until 1893. For the next three years (1893-96) Loomis returned briefly to journalism as editor of the Cincinnati Daily Tribune. President McKinley appointed him Envoy Extraordinary and Minister Plenipotentiary to Venezuela in 1897 and Minister to Portugal in 1901. A year later, he was recalled to Washington and was appointed First Assistant Secretary of State. It was during this tenure that he became associated with the reorganization of the American Red Cross, serving as a charter member.

In 1905 Loomis was named U.S. Secretary of State. His commissions included final negotiations which resulted in the acquisition of the Panama Canal Zone; service as special ambassador to France to receive the body of John Paul Jones; and Special Envoy Extraordinary to Japan, arranging the visit of the U.S. fleet to that country in 1908. Shortly before World War I Loomis returned to private business as foreign trade adviser to Standard Oil Co. serving until retirement. He died in 1948 in the San Francisco Bay area.