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Mark S. Foster

Mark S. Foster, Professor Emeritus, University of Colorado Denver, (May 2, 1939 - October 21, 2016) was a prolific scholar of twentieth-century American history, authoring eleven books, plus dozens of articles. Among his most well-known books are From Streetcar to Superhighway: American City Planners and Urban Transportation 1900 1940 (1981); Henry J. Kaiser: Builder in the Modern American West (1989); and Castles in the Sand: The Life and Times of Carl G. Fisher (2000). Foster was a life member of the Organization of American Historians, and had been a member for almost 50 years.

Foster taught at the University of Colorado Denver for thirty-three years, beginning in 1972 at what was then a young campus, and retiring in 2005, having helped the university grow toward maturity. His dynamic teaching and intense dedication transformed many students into enthusiastic historians. He loved nothing more than sharing his excitement and apparently infinite knowledge about history with everyone—students and colleagues, as well as friends in any setting.

That excitement about history combined with Foster's avid sportsmanship to produce three scholarly books and many articles on the history of baseball in Colorado. The combination also energized decades of participation in nineteenth-century vintage baseball. In addition, that blend of historian and sportsman animated countless guest lectures in which Foster wore his vintage baseball uniform, alternating between the voice of an 1870s-era gentleman with decidedly illiberal attitudes and his historian's voice.

Foster earned his B.A. in Philosophy at Brown University in 1961. At the University of Southern California, he earned a Master's degree in 1968 and a Ph.D. in 1971, both in American history. His research and teaching won numerous honors at CU Denver, including Teacher of the Year in 1983 and Researcher of the Year in 2001, plus the University of Colorado Medal in 2007.

Contributions are welcome to the Mark Foster Scholarship in History Fund at the University of Colorado Denver.

Posted: November 28, 2016
Tagged: In Memoriam