The fellow of all Minervas

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By Jessica Doran

Ben Foster ’07, current Director of Minerva programs, was just your typical Union College student when he was here. “As a first-year, I bummed around and didn’t commit to anything.”

 

This is comforting to hear from someone who has achieved so much at Union in his time as a student and as a faculty member, especially when one considers the amount of time and effort go into running all of our great Minerva programs.

Foster was a graduate of the class of 2007 and in his sophomore year, he became a avid member of Golub house, which may have been a precursor to his job today.

“I spent two years in Golub until my senior year, when I really downsized my on-campus involvement to focus on my academics and have as much fun as possible my senior year,” he said. “I loved my time in Golub, and made a lot of great friends.”

Ben had a good handle on balancing his social and academic involvement, and took advantage of the Minervas.

He also started the Kendo Club, a Japanese fencing club that ran for seven years at Union.  Clearly, he has a knack for understanding what great activities work well and appeal to the Union students.

As is fitting to be celebrating during alumni week, Foster has continued his involvement on the campus throughout his time here.  He continued to coach his Japanese Fencing club for a while.

He said, “One of my proudest moments at Union was coming back after graduating and practicing with the club I founded, a kind of legacy moment.  After practice, a young student came up to me and told me that the Kendo Club was one of the major reasons he decided to come to Union—another told me that Kendo Club is the biggest reason he didn’t transfer and is glad he stayed at Union. I also met the woman who would become my wife, Claire, through that club—needless to say, my Union Club experience was a defining experience in my young adult life.”

This type of influence can change someone’s Union experience, and Foster experienced that firsthand and continues to experience it.

Looking to the future, Foster is optimistic and sentimental as to how Union has changed and how it only continuing to progress.

“Union has only gotten better since I was a student: increased diversity, both in points of view and people, the physical campus is better than ever with the new building improvements, and the Minerva Program has done quite a bit to change the culture here,” he said. “I am very happy with the direction Union is moving in. We are constantly improving as an academic community, and I believe our biggest successes are yet to come.”

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