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Dr. Robert W. Foster, 59, had been part of the Southeast administration in a variety of positions since 1967 before taking over as interim president in 1989. He was the assistant to the president from 1967 to 1976, after which he became the vice president for financial services. He was the executive vice president from 1983 to 1989, where he was responsible for the university's operating budget, physical plant and the advancement of the university.
Foster did not wish to be considered for the presidency after his interim term expired.
Foster received his master's in education degree in 1958 and his doctorate in education in 1967 from the University of Missouri-Columbia. He received his bachelor's degree from Southwest Missouri State University. Foster then joined the faculty of the University of Missouri as an instructor of education and assistant director of student teaching.
Foster was also active in community services. He was a district governor of Rotary International and was named the 1988 Rotarian of the Year by the Cape Girardeau West Rotary Club.
He was also a past president of the Cape Girardeau United Way, a past chairman of the Cape Chamber of Commerce board of directors, and a deacon and past chairman of deacons at First Baptist Church of Cape Girardeau.
He also held a number of positions with the Missouri Baptist Convention, including president of the Missouri Baptist Foundation from 1988 to 1989.
This information is excerpted from the article "Past and Present Presidents" appearing in The Southeast Missourian on April 4, 1999.