Alumnus Embraces His Role in University’s Future

Vince FosterA Michigan State counselor convinced Vince Foster to major in accounting simply by noting it was difficult.

“That seemed to fit me,” Vince says. “I had a great experience, and I was kind of set career-wise when I made that decision.”

Upon graduation in 1978, he received job offers from what were then known as the big eight accounting firms. He chose to work for Arthur Andersen in Detroit.

Little did he know then, his time in Detroit would be short-lived, but he would deepen his connection to Michigan State. He fell in love with the booming business environment and moved to Houston in 1981 after Arthur Andersen sent him there on a short-term project.

Foster credits Arthur Andersen, where he worked for a total of 19 years, with helping him develop the culture of giving back to Michigan State.

“Arthur Andersen had a really admirable program where they told the partners, ‘You will donate a percentage of your income or we will do it for you,’” Vince says. “Whatever we did, they matched.”

Paying Dividends

He has maintained the giving spirit since starting his own company, Main Street Capital, in 1997. Recently, he made a gift to the College of Business of dividends on his stock for five years, accomplished through a charitable lead trust.

“It is really interesting. The lead trust pays Michigan State the income for a term of years, and then all the stock I transferred to the lead trust reverts back to me,” Vince says.

He gives because he knows the university needs support to keep tuition affordable. Vince’s gift of dividends from his company’s stock is designated for the Business College Pavilion.

“The alumni are critical or the math does not work,” Vince says. “If it were not for Michigan State, I probably would not be in the position to be doing what I am doing. It is a natural thing to do.”