College to name business school after donor

/ Source: The Associated Press

The University of Washington has announced plans to rename its business school in honor of a Seattle businessman whose family foundation has given $50 million to the university.

The school will be called the Michael G. Foster School of Business if the name change is approved by the UW Board of Regents at its Sept. 20 meeting, UW President Mark A. Emmert said.

"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 Foster Foundation, co-founded by Foster and his parents in 1984, has given $50 million to the university in memory of Foster, who died in 2003. The foundation has also supported Northwest arts organizations, education, medical research and social service agencies.

Michael's father, Albert Foster, was a 1928 graduate of the UW Business School and a former member of the board of governors of the New York Stock Exchange in the early 1950s. He and his son, Michael, who attended the university from 1957 to 1960 but did not graduate, started several financial companies in Seattle over the years, most recently Foster, Paulsell & Baker, a brokerage and investment banking firm.

The Foster Foundation has a 25-year history of supporting the business school and other university programs, giving $10 million for the school's new building, supporting its endowment and setting up several endowed scholarship funds.

Dean James Jiambalvo said the most recent gift of $36.5 million to the endowment campaign will allow the school to compete for top faculty, launch new programs and offer more scholarships.

"This is truly a transformational gift," Jiambalvo said.

About 2,100 students attend the business school, the UW's fourth-largest school. It will be the third of 17 schools on campus to be named for an individual, following the Daniel J. Evans School of Public Affairs, after former Gov. Dan Evans, and the Henry M. Jackson School of International Studies, after Washington's late U.S. Sen. Henry M. "Scoop" Jackson.