Dr. Luther Hilton Foster, Sr.
By Maurice B. Jones
Luther H. Foster, Sr. (1888-1949) served as treasurer-business manager of Virginia Normal and Industrial Institute for 29 years. In 1942, upon the retirement of Dr. John M. Gandy, he became acting president of the College. In April 1943, the State Board appointed Dr. Foster President of Virginia State College for Negroes. During his administration, he secured funds to increase the salaries of teachers and equipment for the college.
Dr. Foster received many honors as he was highly respected and known throughout educational circles as an extremely competent business manager and administrator. For many years, he served the General Education Board as an advisor, increasing the stability of many black institutions.
He was awarded honorary degrees (Doctor of Laws) by Morris Brown College, Atlanta University (now Clark Atlanta University) in 1940, and by Virginia Union University in 1943. In 1943, he was named to the Honor Roll of the Richmond Times-Dispatch.
In 1929, Dr. Foster founded the Association of Business officers in schools for Negroes. He was the first president of the organization, now called the American Association of College Business Managers.
On June 6, 1950, Luther H. Foster High School in Nottoway County, VA was dedicated in memory of Dr. Foster, the school existed until 1970 and the building is currently being used for other purposes. “Hail Foster High” was composed in 1951 by Miss Florence Marie Goodman, the 1st teacher of music at L.H. Foster High. It was sung to the tune of “Danny Boy”.
Dr. Foster was a member of the Ancient Free and Accepted Masons, Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc., the Virginia Association of Education, the American Association of School Administrators, the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), and the Association for the Study of Negro Life and History.
His son, Dr. Luther Hilton Foster, Jr., born on the campus of St. Paul's Polytechnic Institute (now St. Paul’s College) in Lawrenceville, VA, served as the fourth president of Tuskegee Institute from 1953 to 1981. Luther H. Foster Hall, formerly referred to as the Engineering Building, is named in honor of Dr. Luther Hilton Foster, Jr.
Dr. Luther H. Foster, Sr. served as President until his death at his home on the campus of Virginia State College on July 6, 1949. Funeral services were held July 8, 1949 in the Virginia Hall Auditorium.