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Dr Robert & Virginia Foster

Dr. Robert Foster and his wife, Virginia served as Northwest's president and first lady from 1964 to 1977. Under Dr. Foster's leadership, the campus experienced extensive growth, including the construction or renovation of 13 buildings during his tenure as president – including the construction of the Garrett-Strong Science Building, the Olive DeLuce Fine Arts Building, the high-rise residence halls and the Valk Center as well as a major expansion of the J.W. Jones Student Union.

Enrollment grew From 500 to 3,500 students during Foster’s presidency, academic opportunities increased and Northwest advanced from college to university status.

Dr. Foster died in 2008 at the age of 90, and Virginia died in 2014 at the age 97.

Virginia taught elementary school in Clarinda, Iowa, and Dr. Foster taught and coached in Carrollton, Mo., where the couple met. In Maryville, they advocated for the development of Highway 71 and an industrial park in addition to volunteering with the Boy Scouts. They also were ambassadors for the Civil Rights Movement.

Dr. Foster served Northwest in various capacities for 30 years, becoming its registrar in 1948. Foster also served as director of admissions and dean of administration before moving into the president's office. In addition to overseeing the campus’ growth as president, he was instrumental in the creation of the Northwest Foundation, which funded the construction of the iconic Memorial Bell Tower, and he had a leading role in securing funding to establish KXCV/KRNW, Northwest's award-winning 100,000-watt National Public Radio affiliate.
Scholarships associated with Dr Robert & Virginia Foster
  • Dr Robert & Virginia Foster Commemorative Scholarship