Judson W. Foust was born on January 4, 1902 in Ann Arbor, Michigan, the son of Earl Harlan Foust, an eye surgeon. With his family he moved to Ithaca, Michigan, where he graduated from high school in 1919. In 1923, Foust graduated from Albion College with a degree in mathematics. While at Albion he was a member of the track squad and belonged to Sigma Nu fraternity. He also worked some weekdays and weekends at the Albion Malleable Iron Works. An excellent mathematics student he was a member of the Mathematics Club which later became the first chapter of Kappa Mu Epsilon in Michigan.
After graduation, he accepted a position as a teacher of mathematics and debate coach in Central High School in Lansing, Michigan. While teaching, Foust attended the University of Michigan (UM), from which he earned a master’s degree (1927). (He would later also earn his doctorate in mathematics from the UM in 1938.) In 1928 he was promoted to Head of the Dept. of Mathematics at Central High School.
He began his career at Central State Teachers College, later Central Michigan University (CMU) in 1929 as a mathematics instructor. Foust also authored several textbooks. In 1941 he was named director of summer school at CMU. Foust was later appointed as Assistant to the President, 1946-1952, and Vice President of General and Academic Affairs, 1952-1959. When President Anspach retired in 1959, Foust succeeded him as President on July 1, 1959.
During Foust’s tenure as president, CMU had one of its largest expansion periods in the history of the university up that time. Enrollment and campus acreage nearly doubled, the university reorganized into schools and vastly expanded its graduate offerings, the library quadrupled in size, and three major classroom buildings and eight dormitories were built.
President Foust was a social conservative. During his administration, relationships between the faculty and administration reached a breaking point, resulting in a State Senate investigation of the situation. The faculty formed a union, the Faculty Association, in 1967. Student protests also occurred, although compared to larger colleges, the protests were few and rare.
In June of 1968 after 39 years at CMU, President Foust retired. He planned to travel, read philosophy and literature, and “take life easy in general.” He and his wife designed a home on the banks of the Chippewa River for their retirement.
Foust was active in the Rotary Club and served as an elder at the First Presbyterian Church. He loved to fish in his free time.
He married Virginia Sutherland on August 20, 1924. Together they had five children: Donald, Robert, Jane, Jean, and Janice.
On September 7, 1979, Judson W. Foust died in Central Community Michigan Hospital in Mount Pleasant. He was survived by his wife and children, thirteen grandchildren and three great-grandchildren. (This information is from the collection.)
The Judson Foust Building, named in honor of President Foust opened in 1973. It cost $2.035 million to complete. The multi-purpose building housed several CMU programs and departments, including: Academic Assistance Programs, Counseling Center, Master of Science in Administration Program, Office of Graduate Studies, Office of Research and Sponsored Programs, Student Disability Services, and the University Health Services. A new building was built in 2002-2003.