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Dr. Kathryn A. (Kate) Foster Biography

President of The College of New Jersey

Dr. Kathryn A. (Kate) Foster
Dr. Kathryn A. (Kate) Foster became the 16th president of The College of New Jersey in 2018.

A native of New Jersey and a scholar-educator with over thirty-five years of experience in public higher education, Foster comes to TCNJ from the University of Maine at Farmington where she served as president from 2012 to 2018. Prior to the presidency, she was a Visiting Fellow at the Brookings Institution, on research leave from the State University of New York at Buffalo, her academic home from 1993 to 2012.

Foster earned her B.A. in geography from The Johns Hopkins University, her M.C.P. (city planning) from the University of California, Berkeley, and her Ph.D. in public and international affairs from Princeton University.

Under Foster’s leadership, UMF turned around a five-year decline in enrollment, bolstered experiential education, and aligned programming and investment through the university strategic plan, campus master plan, recruitment and retention plan, advancement plan, and marketing plan. With renewed attention to campus facilities, UMF refurbished its gymnasium, created a student learning commons, improved classroom spaces and lounges, upgraded residence halls, and built a biomass heat plant, which, together with geothermal wells, significantly reduced campus dependency on fossil fuels.

A fully engaged administrator and frequent public speaker, Foster established The Public Classroom, UMF’s speaker series bridging university and community, expanded university governance, and energized the university’s Board of Visitors. She worked closely with the University of Maine System Chancellor and Trustees to chart strategic directions for the public higher education system in Maine. Foster served as chair of the presidents’ council of the North Atlantic (athletic) Conference, chair of the strategic plan committee of the Council of Public Liberal Arts College, and member of the boards of the Greater Franklin Development Corporation and JMG (formerly Jobs for Maine’s Graduates). In 2016 Foster was named by Maine magazine as one of the “50 People Charting the Future of Maine.”

At the State University of New York, Foster was Director of the University at Buffalo Regional Institute, an award-winning research and policy unit informing regional issues with focus on the binational Buffalo-Niagara region, and Associate Director and Co-PI for the MacArthur Foundation Research Network on Building Resilient Regions. Prior to 2005, Foster served as Chair of the University at Buffalo Department of Urban and Regional Planning, where as a faculty member she taught graduate, undergraduate, and honors courses in regions, planning, economics, and governance.

Foster is the author of The Political Economy of Special-Purpose Government (1997), Regionalism on Purpose (2001), and dozens of book chapters, articles, and policy reports. She participated actively on several New York State task forces, including the New York State Commission on Local Government Efficiency and Competitiveness, and was selected by Business First in 2007 as its Woman of Influence in Public Policy. Earlier in her career, Foster was a lecturer at Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo, served as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Swaziland, and, in 2000-2001, as Visiting Fellow at the Taubman Center for State and Local Government at Harvard University.

Foster enjoys golf, hiking, photography, maps, road trips, theater, gardening, writing, travel, bicycle riding, interior decorating, visiting state capitols, and attending cultural events of all kinds.


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