Dr. Richard Foster, former vice president for programs at the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, has been named W.K Kellogg Professor in Food, Society and Sustainability at Michigan State University. His appointment became effective Jan. 1.
"We have called on Rick Foster many times to provide insight into major issues and his perspective has contributed tremendously to the success of the college, so I am excited to have him join our faculty," says Jeffrey D. Armstrong, dean of the MSU College of Agriculture and Natural Resources. "Under his leadership, we will help the MSU community embrace sustainability and establish Michigan's future development principles for growth that is economically, socially and environmentally sustainable."
The position, funded by an endowment from the W.K. Kellogg Food Society and Sustainability program, is housed in the CANR and includes an appointment in MSU Extension as well as research, curriculum development and teaching responsibilities.
Foster was named vice president for programs at the W.K. Kellogg Foundation in 1995 and was a member of the executive team that provided overall direction and leadership for the foundation. He joined the foundation in 1991 as a visiting professional while on sabbatical leave from the University of Nebraska, where he was a professor of agriculture education from 1983 to 1992. He also served as an associate professor of agriculture education at the University of Idaho from 1978 to 1983, and a research associate and instructor of agriculture education at Iowa State University from 1976 to 1978.
Prior to joining WKKF, he worked in international development activities in Africa and Central America, and was instrumental in establishing the School of Agriculture for the Humid Tropical Region (EARTH University) in Costa Rica. He was a leadership fellow in the Kellogg National Fellowship Program from 1987 to 1990 and served as a Thorton Bradshaw Fellow exploring "the Humanities and the Young Professional" in 1991.
Foster has been recognized for his work by honors that include the National FFA Honorary American Farmer Degree, an honorary doctorate from the University of Maryland-Eastern Shore, the Kellogg Fellows Leadership Alliance Spirit of Leadership Award and the CANR Honorary Alumnus Award.
His work has been instrumental in enabling the CANR to undertake a range of land-grant efforts. His advice and support have made possible the Student Organic Farm; the Land Policy Institute; the W.K. Kellogg Chair in Agriculture, Food and Community Ethics; the Great Lakes Leadership Academy; a new Food and Fitness program and many other initiatives at MSU.
Foster received his bachelor's degree (1972), master's degree (1974) and doctoral degree (1978) in agricultural education from Iowa State University.
The College of Agriculture and Natural Resources is the founding college of Michigan State University. Together with the Michigan Agricultural Experiment Station and Michigan State University Extension, it serves the people of Michigan through research, education and outreach that engage citizens in enhancing economic development and exploring sustainable solutions to issues in agriculture, food systems, biotechnology, the environment, and human and community development.