D.C. Businessman to Endow School of Music at WSU

OGDEN, Utah – A recent piano concert in Washington, D.C. began on a high note with news of a $5 million pledge to endow a school of music at Weber State University. Shortly before student pianist Fan-Ya Lin appeared onstage, WSU President Ann Millner acknowledged distinguished audience member Sid W. Foulger, a Weber College alumnus and board chairman of Foulger-Pratt, a D.C. area-based development, construction and management firm. Millner then announced Foulger’s multi-million dollar donation and his desire to establish the Sid & Mary Foulger School of Music at WSU. An estimated 150 people attended the April 21 concert in the Main Theater of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints Washington D.C. Temple Visitors’ Center.

At today’s monthly meeting, WSU’s Board of Trustees unanimously voted to create the school of music. A formal naming ceremony and public celebration are scheduled for mid-September.   

Madonne Miner, dean of the Telitha E. Lindquist College of Arts & Humanities, considers Foulger’s gift tremendously important. “Having a school of music symbolically and literally affirms the importance of music education at Weber State,” she said. “It proclaims a level of achievement and support.” According to Miner, the new school will enhance the university’s ability to recruit a broader range of career-oriented student musicians, support more scholarships, attract faculty and visiting performers of the highest caliber, and purchase state-of-the-art instruments, equipment and technology.     

Millner is thrilled that Foulger wants to support Weber State, despite his having lived outside Utah for many years. “I believe Sid really wants to give back to the place where he got his start,” she said, “and in helping Weber State University, Sid is also helping the Weber and Davis county communities where he and his late wife, Mary, grew up.”

Foulger’s interest in establishing a school of music at WSU stems from conversations he had with Lin and the university’s director of keyboard studies, Yu-Jane Yang, both Taiwanese. Foulger and his wife developed a deep fondness for the people and cultures of Eastern Asia while serving in a Chinese-speaking branch of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, in the Washington, D.C. area. 

            
Lin, winner of numerous prestigious piano competitions, declined admission offers from two renowned music conservatories, and came to WSU specifically to study with Yang. According to Miner, Lin and Yang exemplify the supportive, non-competitive culture of WSU’s music program. “Students and faculty alike realize the success of one individual means success for all,” said Miner. “I envision the Sid & Mary Foulger School of Music as a place where students receive a remarkably personalized education; one that encourages them to soar to heights beyond what they ever imagined possible.”

A pianist himself, Foulger has a close affinity with the performing arts, especially music. The Foulger International Music Festival in New Jersey is named in recognition of the couple’s lifetime of passionate support for music and education in the U.S. and abroad. Other philanthropic achievements of The Sid and Mary Foulger Foundation include the construction of a school for special needs children in Russia, and an orphanage in China.

About Sid and Mary Foulger      

Sid W. Foulger grew up in Ogden and attended Weber College, where he played football. Mary Flint Foulger spent her childhood in nearby Kaysville. Both Sid and Mary attended The University of Utah where Sid earned a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering. The couple married in Washington, D.C. while Sid was stationed in Maryland as a U.S. Navy lieutenant during World War II.      

Around this time, Sid acquired an interest in real estate development and was hired by Marriott Corp. to start the hospitality company’s architecture and construction division. Anticipating an era of unprecedented growth in the Washington, D.C. area, Sid established Foulger & Co. in 1963. It became known as Fougler-Pratt in the 1970s. The privately held organization has achieved many successes through the years, ranging from the construction of Crossroads Mall in Salt Lake City, to the building of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints’ landmark Washington D.C. Temple and Visitors’ Center in Kensington, Maryland.      

Throughout their lives, the Foulgers graciously devoted time, energy and resources to philanthropic endeavors. After Mary’s passing in 2010, Sid continued his generous support of charitable programs, particularly those associated with music and young people. He is a firm believer in the transformative power of music, and is committed to advancing opportunities for music education and achievement.

Visit weber.edu/wsutoday for more news about Weber State University.

Contact:

Madonne Miner, dean, Lindquist College of Arts & Humanities
801-626-6424 • madonneminer@weber.edu


Brad Mortensen, vice president for University Advancement
801-626-6002 • bmortensen@weber.edu
Author:
Karin Hurst, office of Media Relations
801-626-7337 • karinhurst@weber.edu