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UA loses dean, adviser, friend

Hannah Mask

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The assistant director of student judicial affairs died Dec. 25 at his home in Tuscaloosa, said Jill Satcher, assistant director of judicial intake.

Mark Foster, 49, served in many positions at the University, including working as a student building manager in the Ferguson Center when he was a student in the mid-‘80s and as operations manager of the Ferguson Center from 1989 to 1999. That year, he became the assistant director of judicial affairs where he worked until his death, said Satcher, who worked with Foster for 17 years.

However, his resume extended beyond those positions.

“He served as an on-call dean, visiting students in emergency situations in the hospital in the late-night and early-morning hours,” Satcher said. “He rode with the UAPD on weekends.  He worked part-time with the Athletics Department, keeping statistics for men’s and women’s basketball and gymnastics.  He spotted for all the UA home football games.  He was also an adviser to the Student Judicial Board and the Alpha Kappa Lambda fraternity.”

SGA Chief Justice Hayley Strong, who worked with Foster for two and a half years, said he sought to enforce University policy while simultaneously instilling value in students.

“Mark was much more than an adviser,” she said. “Mark was my mentor and friend, and he taught me valuable leadership skills, the importance of an education, how to resolve conflict and many other life lessons that just cannot be taught in a classroom.”

Foster’s goal was to be helpful to students, Satcher said.

“One time I asked him what motivated him to serve as an on-call dean for so long, and his response was, ‘I want to help,’” she said. “To me, that phrase sums up Mark Foster.  Anytime someone asked for his assistance, his response was ‘Sure.’  Or, if you said, ‘Mark Foster, I have a question,’ his response was, ‘I have an answer.’”

Working with Foster for 17 years was like working with a friend and brother, Satcher said.

“He was someone you felt comfortable with and completely accepted no matter what,” she said. “Someone you could agree or disagree with professionally and know there would be no negative repercussions.”

While Foster served and loved the University for 21 years, he had hobbies and interests outside of the Capstone, including reading and playing softball.

“[He] loved cold weather and snow,” Satcher said. “[He] almost always wore sweaters in the winter.  He sang beautifully and was involved in the choir at South Highlands Baptist Church.”

Foster came from a family of seven boys, and Satcher said he often spoke of his six brothers and their families, as well as his mother and father.

“If you did not know his family, you felt like you did because of the many stories he shared, and he shared them joyously,” she said.

Strong said she considers herself fortunate to have had the opportunity to work with Foster, who said she was a very influential member of the UA community.

“It is my hope that other students on this campus will also have the opportunity to work with a faculty or staff member that will impact their lives as Mark impacted mine,” she said. “He will truly be missed.” Overall, Satcher said, Foster was a selfless person who always smiled and treated people with respect.

“Our office has not only lost a coworker that we saw every day, we have lost a friend we loved, and someone we thought of—and still think of—as a brother,” she said.

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UA loses dean, adviser, friend