Article - Office of College Advancement

Ohlone trustee concludes 20-year stint

Ruthe Foster has been associated with the college since its inception

By Angela Woodall, Staff writer

Saturday, July 22, 2006—Reprinted from Inside Bay Area: The Argus.

Fremont—Ruthe Foster will not seek re-election to the Ohlone College board, ending a 20-year stretch as a trustee and a lifelong involvement in education.

Foster cited age as the main reason behind her decision to sit out the Nov. 7 election.

"I'm 83 years old … and I think I've had enough. I love the college, but the driving and all is getting me down," said Foster, one of two Newark representatives on the board.

Meanwhile, Richard Watters has announced his intention to run for Foster's seat. He pulled election papers on Monday.

Foster's decision marks the end of an era for her and for the college, which she has been associated with since its inception.

Her husband, Ken Foster, was vice mayor of Newark and represented the city in Sacramento when then-Gov. Pat Brown signed an act in 1965 that enabled the community to move ahead with plans to create the college.

Ken Foster later became a member of the board of trustees, serving for 17 years until his death in 1986.

Ruthe Foster, who had retired after teaching social studies and English to junior high students for 34 years, ran for the board in 1986 and was elected to her husband's seat.

Foster said she decided to run at the time to continue the work her husband had started.

Her legacy after 20 years is a focus on providing good education for Ohlone students, she said. "My whole life has been about education."

Saying that she will miss being involved in the day-to-day activities of the college—but not some of the late-night meetings—Foster said she does not plan to endorse any candidates in November.Ohlone's other Newark trustee, Bill McMillin, has pulled papers to seek re-election.

Meanwhile, Watters, a 34-year-old director for student leadership at Notre Dame de Namur University in Belmont, said he intends to file his election papers Tuesday, after being encouraged by friends to run for a board seat.

The two-year Newark resident is the staff member on the Notre Dame board of trustees, a voting member of the university's planning and budget committee, and serves on several committees in Newark, including the Newark Education Foundation.

Staff writer Angela Woodall can be reached at (510) 353-7004 or at awoodall@angnewspapers.com.

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