Richard Van Loon came to the university in 1958 and graduated with a B.Sc. (Chemistry and Geology) in 1961. He went on to a masters program in 1962 and graduated with an M.A. in Political Science in 1965.
In 1970, Van Loon returned to the university to become Assistant Professor which he held until 1972, teaching Summer Sessions in 1970 and 1971. Van Loon was promoted over the years to Associate Professor and Full Professor.
Van Loon was President of the University from 1996-2005.