The UC Davis Foundation has recognized Ron Foster with the prestigious 2017 Charles J. Soderquist Award. The annual award is presented to individuals who demonstrate excellence in philanthropy, volunteerism and leadership, and an overall commitment to UC Davis.
Foster is an owner and board member of Livingston, Calif.-based Foster Farms, where he served as president and chief executive officer for more than 12 years. He has been a strong champion for the university, particularly in the Central Valley of California and in the poultry industry.
“As a volunteer and philanthropist, Ron has been instrumental in helping UC Davis and the School of Veterinary Medicine grow an engaged and committed group of volunteers and donors,” said Bruce Bell, chair of the UC Davis Foundation. “We are very pleased to recognize him as this year’s recipient of the Charles J. Soderquist Award.”
The UC Davis Foundation is a nonprofit organization that enhances the excellence of UC Davis by highlighting the impacts of philanthropy and stewarding private donations to the university. The Foundation’s Board of Trustees created the Soderquist Award in 2005 in honor of UC Davis alumnus, entrepreneur and philanthropist Charles Soderquist. It awards the recipients $5,000, which they donate to a university program or field of their choice. Foster has decided to give his prize money to the School of Veterinary Medicine’s poultry medicine program, which provides students with access to hands-on learning opportunities at California poultry farms, including Foster Farms.
A committed supporter
Foster previously received the School of Veterinary Medicine’s Distinguished Service Award for his support as an advisor, fundraiser, philanthropist, grateful client and corporate partner. He has served as a charter member of the School of Veterinary Medicine’s Dean’s Leadership Council for nearly 20 years and is currently the co-chair of the council.
“Ron Foster is an accomplished leader who has an immense commitment to the mission of the UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine and is an outstanding choice to be the next recipient of the Charles J. Soderquist Award,” wrote Michael Lairmore, dean of the School of Veterinary Medicine, in his nomination letter.
He previously chaired the School of Veterinary Medicine’s campaign to raise funds for a new dairy teaching facility in Tulare, California, which resulted in the Consumer Education Pavilion. He also continues to promote efforts to re-energize the school’s poultry expertise and research investigations through Foster Farms’ leadership in the California Poultry Federation.
Foster is currently leading the initiative to support a $1 million fundraising project for the Arthur A. Bickford Endowed Avian Residency Program, to which Foster Farms provided the initial lead gift. He also provided gifts to the School’s Veterinary Medicine 3B facility and an endowed veterinary student scholarship in honor of his grandparents, Max and Verda Foster, who founded Foster Farms in 1939. He frequently attends the school’s scholarship awards ceremony to personally present scholarships to the student recipients.
“I am proud to be a donor and volunteer at UC Davis, where brilliant minds are working to solve the world’s greatest challenges, including those facing farms and society overall,” Foster said. “The excellence of this university makes me all the more thrilled to be honored with this award.”