Robert Foster

Corporate and Civic Leader to Receive Honorary Degree

Robert Foster

Robert Foster

Media contact:
Pat Harris, 408-924-1748

 SAN JOSE, CA – Distinguished retired Southern California Edison president and former Long Beach mayor Robert (Bob) Foster, ’69 Public Administration, will receive an honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters at the San Jose State University Honors Convocation on April 24 at the Event Center.

“Robert Foster has always credited San Jose State with teaching him strong study and work ethics and the ability to think and question—skills that he used to serve California,” said President Mohammad Qayoumi. “His distinguished careers in both the private and public sectors merit this significant award.”

Industry leader

Foster dedicated his career to resolving the state’s energy issues. As chief of conservation and deputy director of the California Energy Commission, Foster led the effort to establish statewide energy efficiency standards in the late 1970s, among the first in the United States.

He joined Southern California Edison (SCE) in 1984, where he worked his way up from operations executive to president. Under Foster’s leadership, SCE developed the nation’s largest renewable, clean energy programs including solar, geothermal, biomass and wind energy. In addition, he played an essential role in restoring SCE to financial health after the California energy crisis of 2000 and 2001.

Civic leader

As mayor of Long Beach from 2006 to 2014, Foster implemented comprehensive pension reform, saving the city nearly $250 million over ten years. In addition, he presided over significant air and water quality improvements and the lowest crime rate in over 40 years, and he worked to transform Long Beach into one of the most bike friendly cities in the nation.

Foster served as trustee to the California State University system from 1997 to 2006 and as chair of the Board of Governors for the California Independent System Operator from 2010 to 2014. He serves on three corporate boards and several advisory boards.

His community involvements are many, including serving on the Long Beach Public Library Foundation Advisory Board, Long Beach Police Historical Society, Rotary Club of Long Beach, Long Beach Community Foundation, and the YMCA of Greater Long Beach.

In recent years, Foster partnered with Professor Emeritus of Political Science Larry Gerston to co-teach a public policy class and in 2013, Foster received the Outstanding Alumni Award from the College of Social Sciences.

Honors Convocation

Over 3,970 undergraduates who earned a GPA of 3.65 or higher in at least two contiguous semesters of the three prior semesters will be honored at this year’s ceremony at 6 p.m. April 24 in the Event Center.

San Jose State—Silicon Valley’s largest institution of higher learning with 30,000 students and 3,740 employees—is part of the California State University system. SJSU’s 154-acre downtown campus anchors the nation’s 10th largest city.