April 21, 2014
BENTON TOWNSHIP, MI – Lake Michigan College will present its annual Bernard C. Radde Distinguished Service Award to Emily Foster of Niles during the College’s 67th annual Commencement exercise being held at the LMC Mendel Center on Sunday, May 4, at 2 p.m.
In 1963, Berrien County voters approved a county-wide community college district. A new governing body was formed charged with transforming Benton Harbor Junior College into the new entity now known as Lake Michigan College. Emily Foster served as part of that first LMC Board of Trustees, helping to shepherd the growth of the expanding community college.
Foster continued her service on the Board until 1982. Not only was she the only woman on the Board during her 18-year tenure, she was the first female Board chairperson in LMC history. She also served on the Community College Feasibility Study Committee as secretary and promoted the idea of the College as a center for cultural and educational activities to residents of the district.
Foster and the rest of the Board saw the new College through many important milestones, including basic organization and finance, the selection of the new name with the help of the students, and selection of the site at Napier Avenue. She recalls that in the early days they met up to 40 times per year.
Emily has a bachelor of science in home economics from Michigan State University and taught at Niles High School. Over time, her role at the high school evolved into counseling, leading her to earn a master of arts in education from MSU.
Emily is a long-time member of the American Association of University Women and has served as president of the local chapter. She is currently on the Board of the History Center at Courthouse Square, helping with fundraising and event planning.
Emily and her late husband John managed a beef cattle and grain farm and had three children. She lives in Niles and enjoys horseback riding and creating topiary for her evergreen nursery, Foster Farms.
The Bernard C. Radde Distinguished Service Award is named in honor of the late Dr. Bernard C. Radde, who served as a member of the Lake Michigan College Board of Trustees for 25 years. It is presented annually by the LMC Board of Trustees to an individual or individuals who have advanced the cause of LMC and higher education.
Past winners include Bob Schodorf; Marian and Greg O’Niel; Dr. William Emery; Mary Fowler; Carol and Steve Sizer; the Honorable Mabel Johnson Mayfield; Jeff and Marcia Fettig; Merlin and Carolyn Hanson; James M. Krzyzewski, president and CEO of Nyloncraft, Inc.; former LMC Board chairman Steve Silcox; Stephen F. Upton; Senator Harry Gast; Muhammad and Lonnie Ali; and David Whitwam.