Gordon Foster was born in Springfield, Missouri on May 31, 1923, the son of Allen and Elizabeth Foster. He attended Southwest Missouri State University prior to serving in World War II and returned to Southwest Missouri State to complete a Bachelor of Arts degree in History and English in 1948. Gordon married Charlotte A. McNabb on November 28, 1947. They raised three children, George, Mark, and Melanie. Following one year’s service in the Korean War, Foster began graduate work at the University of Missouri culminating in the doctor’s degree in 1956. His doctoral dissertation was “A Survey of Science in Missouri Public High Schools, 1954-1955.” Foster did additional graduate work at the University of Minnesota, the University of Nebraska and New York University. Foster taught English in Rogersville, Missouri, 1948-49. He was vice-principal for the H. P. Study Community School (grades 1-9) 1949-54. He served as Assistant Superintendent for the Hastings, Nebraska public schools, 1955-57. From 1957-72 Foster was on the faculty of Northern Arizona University, starting as an Associate Professor and finishing as Vice-Provost for Academic Affairs. Taking a sabbatical leave during the academic year 1964-65, Foster studied public education systems in Germany, England, and Denmark. In 1966 Foster led a six-week tour for graduate students meeting with school and state educational officials in Western Europe. He led a similar tour to Eastern Europe and the Soviet Union in 1968. From 1972-74 Foster was President at Dakota State College. In 1974 Dakota State College was administratively attached to the University of South Dakota, Vermillion and Foster became the Associate Commissioner for Academic Affairs for the South Dakota Board of Regents. In 1981 he was appointed Executive Director of the Board of Regents, a position he held until his retirement in October 1986. Foster participated in writing two books, “The Association for Student Teaching 41st Yearbook, 1962” and “Elementary and High School Education in Arizona” for the Arizona Academy in 1963. He published numerous surveys and articles in Arizona and South Dakota.
Dakota State University Archives, Madison, South Dakota. RG
8, DSU 132, Box 855.