Dr. Robert P. Foster served Northwest in various capacities for 30 years and developed strong personal ties to both the University and the community. He managed a store in Maryville after World War II then became registrar in 1948. Dr. Foster subsequently served as director of admissions and dean of administration before moving into the president's office.
His years at the helm were marked by rapid growth, and he presided over numerous capital projects, including construction of the high rise dorms, the Valk Industrial Arts Building and the Garrett-Strong Mathematics and Science Building. The Foster administration also worked to bring about the name change to Northwest Missouri State University in 1972 and put a number of programs in place in keeping with the institution's expanded mission.
Perhaps most importantly, Dr. Foster organized the University's first true advancement effort, which resulted in construction of the Bell Tower and created a development network that evolved into today's Northwest Foundation.