Ann and Doug Foard are natural collaborators who complement each other — and bring a joie de vivre to everything they undertake. They share many reasons for supporting Phi Theta Kappa’s college completion initiative. Both have years of teaching experience, and both have worked closely with Phi Theta Kappa’s agendas for student success — Ann as a longtime, award-winning chapter advisor and Faculty Scholar; Doug as a partner in many joint ventures, as Secretary of Phi Beta Kappa and a trustee of the Phi Theta Kappa Foundation. Both have served on the Honors Program Committee.
They also credit Phi Theta Kappa for bringing them together. They met in 1994 at an Honors Institute and married in 2004. “I was first attracted to Phi Theta Kappa because of their outstanding programs that fostered student success,” Doug said. “That remains the attraction today.
“I believed firmly, and continue to believe, in what Phi Theta Kappa is doing at community colleges. Community colleges are essential to American higher education and especially the college completion agenda. That’s why it’s so important to support the Phi Theta Kappa Foundation — the funds raised by the Foundation are supporting the programs that give students an exceptional experience in community colleges and provide scholarships for transition into senior colleges.”
“Just an invitation to membership can be transformational,” Ann said. “Seeing that transformation motivated me to be very involved as an advisor. Community colleges deal with many students who were not in the mainstream, who have not thought of themselves as excellent students. Phi Theta Kappa gives many students the validation they have never had before.”
Both Foards value the college completion agenda. “Again, community colleges have taken the lead in a cause vital to the economic and educational future, not just in the United States, but worldwide,” Doug said.
Ann became advisor of the Mu Eta Chapter at Broome Community College in New York in 1990. Her leadership created a highly engaged chapter. “When we got off our campus and saw what was going on in the New York Region and internationally, I was blown away,” Ann said. “I saw the powerful impact Phi Theta Kappa made on the students.”
With support from the college faculty and administrators, Ann and her chapter were successful in incorporating the Phi Theta Kappa Honors Study Topic into many classes across the curriculum. Her chapter also performed valuable campus and community service and was recognized with regional and international awards. Chapter members were named to the All- USA Community College Academic Team.
As Secretary of Phi Beta Kappa, the prestigious senior college honor society that served as the model for Phi Theta Kappa, Doug fostered collaboration between the organizations. In 1994 he invited Phi Theta Kappa’s Dr. Rod Risley to speak at Phi Beta Kappa’s Triennial Convention, the first-ever community college leader to be given this opportunity. Doug addressed the Phi Theta Kappa Convention the following year and was named an International Honorary Member. He moderated many Convention debates and has spoken at two Honors Institutes.
The Foards’ collaboration extends into other areas of higher education. Ann, who holds degrees from SUNY Oswego and SUNY Cortland, has retired but assists Doug in preparing presentations for his adult education classes at George Mason University, near their home in Loudon County, Virginia. Doug describes these classes as “every teacher’s dream. The students come to class solely for the sake of learning.” Doug serves on the board of Randolph Macon College, his alma mater. He received his master’s degree from the University of Virginia and his Ph.D. from Washington University.
The Foards travel frequently and, fulfilling requests of students, have led several European tours. Ever the historian, Doug is planning to develop a paper on the Spanish-American War into a book.
Ann keeps in contact with advisors she met through Phi Theta Kappa — many now retired — who became dear friends. Both Ann and Doug are quick to praise advisors for their contributions to Phi Theta Kappa’s efforts toward student success. As Doug said, “A bonus Phi Theta Kappa gave me was not only meeting Ann but meeting and coming to know her advisor friends. To say community college faculty are exceptional is an understatement, and the advisors are even more special. The faculty who give up their own time to promote Phi Theta Kappa and what membership can mean to students are dedicated educators, and what better calling can there be?”
Billy Wilson grew up wanting to be a member of Phi Theta Kappa — understandable in a household where his mother, Sally, was the Kappa Alpha Chapter advisor, and his father, Ernest, was Dean at Holmes Community College in Mississippi.
Giving Back and Getting More
Rooney’s decision to give goes back to the lives that are changed through connections to Phi Theta Kappa.
Partnering with Phi Theta Kappa, the Coca-Cola Scholars Foundation and Coca-Cola Foundation will award nearly half a million dollars in scholarships to more than 400 Phi Theta Kappa members and community college students this year.