Everett G. Foster, chair of the Clarkson University Board of Trustees and senior vice president/managing director of RBC Wealth Management in Watertown, N.Y., passed away on February 20 of this year. A member of the Clarkson Board of Trustees since May 2000, he had served since October 2005 as the 18th leader of Clarkson's governing body.
"Rett Foster has given Clarkson a lasting legacy of leadership and progressive direction that befits the attributes of our namesake Thomas S. Clarkson, a man that everyone called friend," said Clarkson President Tony Collins. "Together with his wife, Judy, he inspired a spirit of community and service that is the source of goodwill and philanthropic gifts to the institution. He was not afraid of adversity in his personal and professional life, but instead engaged people in core values that stand the test of time."
Thomas E. Holliday, who assumed the chair of the Board of Trustees upon Foster's death, said, "Rett was more than a great chairman for Clarkson. He was a man on a mission. The mission, which he pursued with a passion, was to promote Clarkson's academic excellence in a quality educational environment. Rett's leadership and drive will be sorely missed but the mission will continue. He would expect nothing less."
During Rett Foster's tenure as chair, the University flourished, achieving record applications and first-year student enrollment, significant growth in research and national stature, and the initiation of a campus master plan that has already brought about marked improvements to the campus infrastructure. Major projects included the construction of the Technology Advancement Center, renovation of Walker Arena and Hantz Field, a new President's House, additions to residence halls, and a transformative Student Center now under construction for completion in August 2010.
At the height of the economic downturn, Chair Foster provided steady guidance and confident foresight to move forward with an ambitious master plan. While other institutions struggled to maintain the status quo, Chair Foster encouraged the Board and administration to leverage Clarkson's strong financial position for the good of the community and the institution's future. President Collins added, "Today, Clarkson reflects Chair Foster's character - resilient, committed, confident and competitive, always with a touch of good humor."
Within private higher education governance, Clarkson's Board of Trustees is unique in its mixed representation of alumni, corporate partners and regional advocates. Foster, a graduate of Colgate University, felt a strong affinity to Clarkson's history of making an outstanding education available to talented North Country students and its role in advancing economic opportunities throughout the region. His interest in scholarship opportunities for local high school students led to his active involvement in a variety of Clarkson projects prior to his service as a volunteer Trustee.
When he was elected to the Clarkson University Board of Trustees in 2000, Foster led the Tucker Anthony Inc. office in Watertown, N.Y. Tucker Anthony became RBC Dain Rauscher in 2002 when it was purchased by Royal Bank of Canada, and in a subsequent reorganization, the investment management portion of the international firm was renamed RBC Wealth Management.
Prior to Tucker Anthony, Foster worked for the trust department of Morgan Guaranty Trust Co., New York City, and then joined the Watertown branch of Foster and Adams stock brokerage in 1968 as office manager. His grandfather, Howard C. Foster, was a founder of the brokerage firm. He became a general partner of the family firm in 1970 and was named manager of the office when the firm was acquired by Tucker Anthony in 1977. He became a vice president in 1979, and in 1981 he was regional director for Upstate New York and a managing director of Tucker Anthony Holding Co.
A native of Plainfield, N.J., Foster graduated from Colgate University in 1964 and received his MBA with honors in finance from Boston University in 1967. While in school, he was a radio operator with the Navy Reserve from 1964-65.
Foster was involved in a number of community and philanthropic organizations. In 1999 he was honored with the Israel A. Shapiro Citizenship Award. The award was established in 1952 to recognize individuals who demonstrate leadership and service to this community.