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Clarkson University Remembers the Life and Legacy of Everett G. Foster, Chair of the Board of Trustees and Ardent Supporter of North Country Region
[A photograph for media use is available at http://www.clarkson.edu/news/photos/foster.jpg]
Everett G. Foster, Chair of the Clarkson University Board of Trustees and Sr. Vice President /Managing Director of RBC Wealth Management in Watertown, N.Y passed away in his home on Saturday with his wife, Judy, son Ben Foster and daughter Katharine Foster Meyer at his side. 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.
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 fall 2010.
In paying tribute to Chair Foster, John B. Johnson, Jr., longtime Clarkson trustee and friend of the Foster family said, "With his wonderful wife, Judy, Rett Foster was a tireless supporter of everything that brought good to the North Country, from education to health care, from patronage of the arts to saving historical treasures, and from the stewardship of our natural environment to the creation of new jobs through smart investments in the talented people who call the North Country home. His business acumen, genuine concern for humanity and keen wit will be missed sorely by all who called him friend and colleague."
President Tony Collins added, "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. Together with his wife, Judy, he inspired a spirit of community and service that is the source of goodwill and philanthropic gifts back 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."
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. He will be deeply missed."
Within private higher education governance, Clarkson’s Board of Trustees is unique in its mixed representation of alumni, corporate partners and regional advocates. Mr. 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.
Chair-Elect and Vice Chair of the Clarkson Board of Trustees Thomas E. Holliday of Los Angeles, Calif. will assume the duties of Board Chair. Last year, Mr. Foster had announced his intentions to step down as Chair in October 2010.
When he was elected to the Clarkson University Board of Trustees in 2000, Mr. 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 those who go the extra mile for the community. Winners are selected based on citizenship, achievement, leadership, dedication and motivation, with an emphasis on community service.
Foster was a past president of the Northern New York Community Foundation, a founding board member of the Samaritan Medical Center Foundation of Northern New York, a Dohl Development Corp. board member, treasurer and chairman of the building committee for the Haun Library in Clayton, a Thousand Islands Association board member, a Watertown Downtown Development Task Force member, and a YMCA capital campaign fund-raising chairman.
He also was board director, treasurer and chairman of the Decade and Beyond Campaign for the Thousand Islands Land Trust (TILT), and founding president of Friends of Hobart-William Smith Rowing, raising money to build a new boathouse and create an endowment.
Foster and his wife, Judith, helped start the Governor Flower Society in 1988 -- a fund-raising arm of the United Way established to encourage others to get more involved in charitable giving. Foster has also been president and campaign chairman for United Way of Jefferson County, president of Watertown Family YMCA, president of the Joint YMCA- YWCA Merger Task Force, director of the Jeff-Lewis Federal Savings and Loan Association and United Northern Federal Savings Bank, president of the Northern New York Mental Health Association, president of the Cerebral Palsy Association, president of the Association for the Blind, president of the Forest Lake Club in Hawley, Pa., president of the Junior Chamber of Commerce and its "businessman of the year," Watertown Town Council member from 1978 through 1981, and member of the New York State Senate Higher Education Advisory Council.
He has been a Rotary exchange student host, won the Distinguished Service Award of the Watertown Jaycees in 1973, was named "Volunteer of the Year Award" by the Cape Vincent Correctional Facility in 1991, was finance chairman for the Urban Mission, a Watertown Town Republican committee member, financial supporter of the Thompson Park Zoo and head of the Thousand Islands Arts Fund.
Words of comfort to share with the Foster family and gifts to a Clarkson University fund established by the Board of Trustees in Mr. Foster’s honor can be directed to the Office of External Relations/ Board of Trustees at Box 5500, Potsdam, NY 13699, 315-268-4483.