K-State Alumna Establishes a New Scholarship for Female Students in Physics  

A desire to make a difference in young people’s lives spurred a Kansas State University alumna to establish two K-State scholarships, plus provide scholarship funds for the Beta Upsilon chapter of the Gamma Phi Beta sorority at K-State and for students at the Washtenaw Community College in Ann Arbor, Mich. Before her passing in November 2011, Terry Suzanne “Speedy” Foster of Milford, Mich., originally from Great Bend, Kan., established a trust as a way to give back to three organizations that meant so much to Terry throughout her life. “Part of the decision to start a trust was estate planning, but a larger part of it was a desire to give back to some institutions that touched her life very significantly,” said Wade Foster, Terry’s son. “She recognized and she pushed my sister and I throughout our lives on the importance of education, so she felt like she should give back and help others in that area.”

Terry and her husband, James King Foster, met while attending Kansas State University. Both were involved in the Greek system—Terry was a member of Gamma Phi Beta and King belonged to the Alpha Tau Omega fraternity—and that’s how they met. “Dad had a date with one of Mom’s sorority sisters to a dance and this sister liked another fella,” said Gwen Umbach, Terry and King’s daughter. “She asked Dad if she could set him up with one of her sorority sisters so she could go with this other guy and he said okay. And the date was my mom.”

Terry also earned her nickname from her sorority sisters. “Mom was never on time for anything,” Wade said. “So apparently someone would always be telling her, ‘speed it up.’ So that’s where the nickname Speed or Speedy came from. And that carried through to the rest of her life—not only her college friends but many of the friends she made over the course of her life called her Speedy.”

Terry and her older brother both attended K-State, as did King’s siblings, so the Foster family has a tradition of supporting K-State. “My parents were die-hard K-State fans,” Gwen said. “We had Willie the Wildcat all over the house.” “Mom was a huge football fan,” Wade said. “She’d go to Manhattan at least once a year for a football game and followed them religiously, in the good and the bad days of football. Dad was certainly a football fan, but I’d say Mom was much more passionate about Kansas State games.”

Terry designated the two K-State scholarships, called the Terry Suzanne “Speed” and James King Foster Scholarship, to be awarded to women in the College of Business Administration and the Department of Physics. “Dad’s degree was in physics and Mom’s degree was in business administration so that’s the foundation behind why the scholarships are going to those departments,” Wade said.

“My hope is that these scholarships will encourage students that receive them and help them realize that there’s something special about them,” Gwen said. “I’d hope the students know that they are awarded these scholarships because they deserve them, they deserve to have that recognition and that they’re special creations.”

“I hope the scholarship makes the difference between an individual being able to attain a degree and not,” Wade said. “That the scholarship is a difference-maker for an individual and that that individual contributes in a positive way to society as a result of this education.”

“Something that resonated with both my parents, that was very important to them, was that the relationship with people was absolutely the most important thing,” Gwen said. “They were both very hard workers and dedicated with anything they took on and very much about education but they always would put the person first.”

Family members, friends or any other parties interested in making additional donations to the Terry Suzanne “Speed” and James King Foster Scholarships in Business Administration and Physics are welcome and encouraged to make an online contribution at https://one.found.ksu.edu/ccon/new_gift.do?action=newGift&ccn_fund_id=5295&scenario=selectfund&reason=WEB for the physics scholarship and at https://one.found.ksu.edu/ccon/new_gift.do?action=newGift&ccn_fund_id=5296&scenario=selectfund&reason=WEB for the business administration scholarship.

Courtesy of Kansas State University Foundation