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Robert E. Foster Legacy Campaign

Naming the Robert E. Foster Rehearsal Hall

If we reach our goal of $500,000 in funding towards ANY of the KU Band endowed funds, we will have the honor of officially naming The School of Music band rehearsal hall “The Robert E. Foster Rehearsal Hall.”

You can help by making your gift to the Robert Foster Band Scholarship now at: 
KU Endowment Bob Foster Scholarship »

Or visiting KU Endowment » and making a gift to ANY new or existing KU Band endowed funds.

A gift of any size makes a crucial difference and will help us honor Bob Foster by adding $500,000 to KU’s endowed funds that support KU Bands now and in the future. All gifts will count toward Far Above: The Campaign for Kansas and help us build a greater KU.



To learn more about the Robert E. Foster Legacy Campaign or to make a donation, please contact Michael Arp at 785-832-7410 or marp@kuendowment.org.

For many alumni, KU Bands are synonymous with Robert Foster, who served as director of bands from 1971-2002 and continues his career today as a KU professor, composer, arranger, guest conductor and author. During Foster’s tenure, KU Bands grew and prospered.

Under Bob’s leadership, the KU Marching Band marched down Campanile Hill to Memorial Stadium for the first time in the fall of 1971, an important pre-game tradition to this day. Through Bob’s efforts women became a regular part of the Marching Band in 1972, and he was later presented with an Award of Distinction for exceptional support toward women in the band movement. The KU jazz program began when Bob started the first official jazz ensemble in 1972.

The Symphonic Band (now called Wind Ensemble) first appeared at the Music Educators National Association convention in 1979 (now having appeared a total of six times), and then performed at the prestigious American Bandmasters Association convention in 1983 (now having appeared a total of four times). In 1989, the KU Marching Band became only the seventh band ever to be awarded the Sudler Trophy, the highest honor available to college marching bands. Sports Illustrated listed the Marching Jayhawks as one of the top 10 college marching bands in 1994.

Bob’s leadership was instrumental to all of these accomplishments. However, what band alumni remember best is his enthusiasm, genuine interest helping students grow as musicians and ability to build camaraderie. Many students claim that joining KU Bands was the best decision of their college career. What Phog Allen was for Jayhawk basketball, Bob Foster has been for Jayhawk Bands!

Bob’s other accomplishments as Band Director Include:

  • First President of the Big 12 Band Directors Association
  • Served as President of the American Bandmasters Association
  • Served as President of Southwest Division of the College Band Directors National Association
  • Served as President of the National Band Association
  • Inducted into the National Band Association Hall of Fame in 2006
  • Currently serves as Vice-President for the John Philip Sousa Foundation

While participation in KU Bands is a fun and rewarding experience, students devote a significant amount of time to practices and performances. It is difficult for students to take on a part-time job to support their education while keeping up with their studies and commitment to the bands. In recent years, KU Bands has built on our tradition of success, and our vision for the future is even greater. KU Band members are cultural and goodwill ambassadors for the university. To extend our reputation of excellence, we need to recruit and retain the best instrumentalists and performers. To honor Bob Foster’s four decades of dedication to KU Bands, we are building upon the existing Robert Foster Band Scholarship. This endowed scholarship fund will provide long-term scholarship support to KU Band participants and help us recruit new musicians. The scholarship will allow students to devote more time to study and practice, and help attract students to KU Bands who would be unable to participate without support.

"For the past 40 years, Bob Foster has been the face of KU among band members across the globe. He has positively impacted the lives of thousands of KU students during his tenure as a Jayhawk. What more appropriate way could there be to honor this dedicated and loyal gentleman?"
Robert Walzel, Dean of Music

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Reach Out Kansas, Inc., Smithyman & Zakoura Chartered and KU Music Concert Series 2014-2015

Music students present hundreds of public concerts every year
Students perform in KU choirs, concert bands, pep bands, ensembles, symphony orchestra, and jazz combos
The school owns one of the greatest jazz record collections in the world
KU Wind Ensemble performed the world premiere of the symphony "In the Shadow of No Towers" at Carnegie Hall
One of 34 U.S. public institutions in the prestigious Association of American Universities
26 prestigious Rhodes Scholars — more than all other Kansas colleges combined
Nearly $290 million in financial aid annually