UW News

December 1, 2004

UW Business School receives $10 million from The Foster Foundation

Preparations for new facilities to house the University of Washington Business School will accelerate from the planning to the design phase with the receipt of a $10 million donation, the largest private gift the school has received. The Foster family, whose three generations attended the UW and created The Foster Foundation, made the gift in memory of well-known businessman Michael G. Foster. With it, the foundation has given the Business School more than $13 million for endowments, fellowships and facilities. The school’s library, which opened in 1997, was named in honor of Albert and Evelyn Foster.

Mike Garvey, chairman of the Business School’s Advisory Board, said this contribution is vital to maintain increasing public support needed to build a world-class facility: “This investment is a huge boost for our campaign — and should inspire others to step forward to help us make this business school among our nation’s best.”

Since the Business School began its fundraising efforts in 2002, it has raised $35 million from private donors, as well as a commitment of $23 million from the university toward the $105 million project. The school was required to raise at least $40 million before architects could begin the design process, which is expected to take from 18 to 24 months to complete. Now that the Business School is more than halfway toward achieving its goal, UW administrators are optimistic about the facility’s future groundbreaking.

“This very generous gift from The Foster Foundation allows us to move forward aggressively with our plans to design and build a truly world-class facility for the UW Business School,” said UW President Mark Emmert. “We are very grateful to the Foster Family and the foundation for this investment in the future of our Business School.”

The Foster Foundation’s administrator, Jill Goodsell, said, “Michael Foster opened the door of opportunity to so many during his lifetime, whether it was through his profession or his philanthropy. This gift is not only a fitting tribute to his legacy; it also affirms The Foster Foundation’s continuing commitment to the University of Washington.”

“We are deeply thankful to the Foster family for this extraordinary gift,” said Business School Acting Dean Vance Roley. “The Fosters have long demonstrated their mission of service to the community and our Business School. We are proud to call The Foster Foundation a part of our team and a member of our family.”

When completed, the new building will increase the school’s total space by nearly 50 percent, adding 52,000 square feet that will contain interactive lecture halls, wireless classrooms, computer labs, study areas and offices for faculty and staff. The Business School currently occupies five buildings on the UW campus: Balmer, Mackenzie and Lewis halls, the Foster Business Library, and the Bank of America Executive Education Center.

Neal Dempsey, co-chairman of the Business School campaign, believes the kind of investment made by The Foster Foundation represents public confidence in the school’s long-term vision.

“New facilities are essential if we expect to attract top faculty and students — and deliver the innovative business education our young people deserve,” Dempsey said.

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 Symphony, Seattle Opera and Seattle Art Museum. She received a bachelor’s degree from the UW in 1932. Michael G. Foster was one of four children of Albert and Evelyn Foster.


For more information, contact; Roley at (206) 221-5749 or vroley@u.washington.edu;  Goodsell at (206) 726-1815 or jillgoodsell@comcast.net