A major building at RMIT’s Bundoora campus has been renamed in honour of education leader Emeritus Professor Leo Foster.
In recognition of Professor Foster’s outstanding contribution to both the University and the broader education sector, Building 220 at the Bundoora campus will now be known as the Leo Foster Building.
Starting his working life as a high school teacher of science and mathematics, Professor Foster served in a number of positions related to the education discipline ranging from lecturer in education and science education at Melbourne Secondary Teachers College to Dean of the Faculty of Education at the Western Australian Institute of Technology.
Now retired, Emeritus Professor Foster was Deputy Vice-Chancellor, Academic Services, at RMIT from 1992 to 1994. He was the Director of the Phillip Institute of Technology from 1982 to 1992, at the time of its merger with RMIT.
RMIT Vice-Chancellor and President, Professor Margaret Gardner AO, praised Professor Foster’s extensive contribution to education.
"For a decade from 1982, RMIT's Bundoora campus west was the home of the Phillip Institute," Professor Gardner said.
"During this time, more than 14,000 students graduated under the directorship of Professor Leo Foster."
Professor Foster recalled how the Phillip Institute's close relations with Kodak Australia – then a major northern suburbs employer – led to the company donating $50,000 to establish a foundation for the institute in the mid-1980s.
"We raised some additional money and soon were able to offer some scholarships – the Women in Technology Scholarships – to encourage women in science," he said.
The fund initially remained relatively small, standing at a little more than $180,000 in 1994, but has since grown to more than $13 million.
Professor Foster continues as a trustee of the foundation, taking a particularly active interest in envisioning new ways the fund can provide financial assistance to RMIT students looking to study abroad.
Professor Gardner said he had been instrumental in the development of the foundation’s highly successful International Visiting Fellowship Program.
"Professor Foster brings to the RMIT Foundation a perspective that comes from a lifetime of teaching and research in Australia and overseas," she said.
Professor Foster also currently serves as chairman of the Board of Directors of the Carinya Society, an organisation providing Day Training Support and Accommodation Services for Intellectually Disabled Adults in the northern suburbs of Melbourne.
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