Brian Foster attended NIU as a first-generation student in his late twenties, graduating in 1967 with a major in history and minor in anthropology, He received his Ph.D. in anthropology from the University of Michigan in 1972. His research has focused on minority traders in Thailand and on social network theory. He has served at five universities as an anthropology faculty member, a department chair, graduate dean, dean of Arts and Sciences, and provost at two universities. He has been very active in national and regional higher education organizations and has served on numerous boards. Since retiring as provost at the University of Missouri – Columbia in 2014, he has established a Topical Interest Group within the Society for Applied Anthropology—a very active group of several hundred members that does anthropological studies of the volatility in today’s higher education.