A-Z Index

Dr. Robert P. Foster, 1964-1977

Dr. Robert P. Foster became president in 1964.  Dr. Foster originally worked on campus as the Registrar and Director of Admissions at Northwest beginning from 1948 to 1959.  He then served as Northwest's Dean of Administration from 1959 until his appointment as president.Dr. Robert Foster honors Coach Ryland Milner with an award. Milner became head coach of the Northwest football team in 1932.Dr. Robert Foster was a people person who was always willing to assist parents and students in times of difficulty.  Dr. Foster would often taken calls in the middle of the night because of this open-door policy.  During his presidency, Dr. Foster secured $15 million dollars for capital improvements at Northwest and he oversaw the construction of Garrett-Strong Science Building and the Olive DeLuce Fine Arts Building.Dr. Foster sits in his office in the Administration Building.  Dr. Foster oversaw many expansions on campus, such as the high-rise residence halls.  The Memorial Bell Tower was also the brainchild of Dr. Foster, who wanted a lasting memorial to the men and women who had served in World War II.  Dr. Foster's Bell Tower efforts resulted in the formation of the Northwest Foundation.An avid golfer, Dr. Foster poses with his retirement gift at a dinner in his honor in 1977.  One of Dr. Foster's most significant achievements at Northwest was his leading role in securing funding for the establishment of KXCV/KRNW Radio, the University's 100,000-watt public radio station.  KXCV/KRNW Radio established the annual and much anticipated Robert Foster Golf Classic in his honor.Dr. Foster receives the Old Hickory Stick after the Northwest football team won it back from Northeast Missouri State University in Kirksville, MO.  Northwest had lost to the Bulldogs in a hard-fought game on November 19, 1968.  The return of the Old Hickory Stick to Northwest in 1969 was met with a great deal of celebration and the Old Hickory Stick has remained in Bearcat possession ever since.Dr. Foster passed away surrounded by family and friends on March 10, 2008 leaving behind a legacy of excellence and service to Northwest.  Dr. Foster married Virginia Mutz Foster in 1948 and they had two sons.  The Robert P. Foster Aquatic Center was named in his honor in 1981.

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.