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UW honors The Foster Foundation’s philanthropy with new name for Business School


University of Washington president Mark A. Emmert announced today that the UW Business School is being renamed in recognition of gifts from The Foster Foundation totaling $50 million with $46.5 million made during Campaign UW: Creating Futures. The school will be called the Michael G. Foster School of Business, subject to approval by the UW Board of Regents at its regularly scheduled meeting Sept. 20.

“Mike Foster was a genuine Northwest businessman,” said Jill Goodsell, The Foster Foundation’s executive director. “He had an uncanny way of enriching many lives within his realm -- an entrepreneur in the truest sense of the word. The Foundation’s gift to the UW is perfect in so many ways, enabling Mike’s legacy as a true Northwest business leader to live on in perpetuity.”

The Foster Foundation made the gift in memory of Foster, who died in 2003. He and his parents co-founded The Foster Foundation in 1984.

“We are very grateful to The Foster Foundation for this extraordinary gift,” said UW President Mark A. Emmert. “Their belief in the power of education to transform lives and give students the opportunity to prosper and grow is heartening. This gift will help our Business School excel and change to meet the constantly evolving demands of business education, and I am thrilled it will forever bear the name of Michael Foster.”

Michael’s father, Albert Foster, was a 1928 graduate of the UW Business School and former member of the board of governors of the New York Stock Exchange in the early 1950s. His wife, Evelyn, was a community volunteer with the Seattle Opera and Seattle Art Museum. She received a bachelor’s degree in general studies from the UW in 1932. Michael was one of Albert and Evelyn’s four children.

Albert Foster established the A.O. Foster Endowed Fellowship Fund in 1984 to assist talented graduate students pursuing careers in the field of finance. That same year Michael established the Michael G. Foster Endowment Fund for undergraduate and graduate students studying finance.

The Foster Foundation has a twenty-five year history of supporting the Business School as well as other UW programs. Previously in the campaign, The Foster Foundation had pledged $10 million for a new Business School facility. Now an additional gift of $36.5 million brings the foundation’s campaign contributions to $46.5 million and its lifetime contributions to over $50 million for the Business School. In 1990, the UW received more than $3 million to help build a new business library, the Foster Business Library, named in honor of Albert O. and Evelyn W. Foster. Other major gifts from The Foster Foundation to the Business School include the Michael G. Foster Endowment, and the Albert O. Foster Endowed Fellowship Fund.

James Jiambalvo, dean of the UW Business School, said the gift will allow the school to compete for top faculty and offer scholarship support to outstanding students who will have a learning experience second to none.

“This is truly a transformational gift,” Jiambalvo said. “It’s going to provide the resources we need to hire and retain top scholars and teachers, launch new programs, and provide scholarships to deserving students. We are now much closer to becoming one of the premier programs in the country thanks to this exceptionally generous gift.”

The Foster Foundation derived its wealth from Albert Foster’s financial services business. In 1938, he founded A.O. Foster & Co., a brokerage firm. In 1961, he sold the company to Harris Upham & Co. In 1962, he returned to Foster & Marshall which was then a dealer in municipal bonds. In 1972, his son Michael took over as president and greatly expanded company operations throughout the Northwest. Ten years later, the company was sold to Shearson/American Express, where Michael briefly worked before going on to form Foster, Paulsell & Baker in 1985.

The UW Business School has raised more than $155 million since it began raising funds in 2000 as part of the UW’s Creating Futures campaign. Of this, $25 million has been raised for faculty endowments, $20 million for student scholarships and almost $62 million for the school’s new facilities. The Creating Futures campaign had an original goal of $2 billion, which was increased last January after the University reached the goal 17 months ahead of schedule. The campaign concludes in June 2008 with a goal of $2.5 billion.


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