Special Assistant to the President Angelique Foster is leaving her position to move closer to family.
“Before moving here, I committed to three years of working with President and Mrs. Kennedy,” said Foster, who joined the University with Kennedy in March 2016. “I love what I do, but my family is so far away, and I would like to be closer to them.”
Foster, who grew up in North Carolina, plans to leave the University in May after helping the new special assistant transition into the new job.
The position description should be finalized this week, and the position will be advertised after that.
“I’m hoping that lots of applicants seek the position,” said Foster. “We are looking for someone who is eager to learn, will take the lead, is decisive, people-oriented and has a sense of humor. This is a selfless job.”
Foster, who holds a BFA in theatre and an MFA in stage management from the University of CA – Irvine, compared the job to that of a stage manager.
“This person will make the wheels turn and make the audience believe those wheels are turning themselves,” she said. “If you want to be a part of things from start to conclusion, are self-motivated, eager to learn and like to always have something going on, this is the position for you.”
Foster first began working for Mark Kennedy in 2012, when he served as professor and director of the Graduate School of Political Management at George Washington University. When he was named UND’s 12th president, he asked her to be his executive assistant.
She joined UND on July 1, 2016.
“President Kennedy is an amazing leader and boss,” Foster said. “He trusts my viewpoint and gives me a lot of freedom. He pushes me out of my comfort zone.”
Leading Strategic Plan implementation
At UND, Foster has served as implementation lead for the One UND Strategic Plan, served on search committees, including the one which brought Vice President for Marketing & Communications Meloney Linder to campus, organized Martin Luther King Jr. Day, and sits on the board of the Empire Arts Center. She also speaks to theatre arts classes.
“I love what I do,” Foster said. “I’m always in competition with myself.”
But, Foster said, she misses her family. She grew up in North Carolina, and plans to move south to be closer to family members.
“I will miss President and Mrs. Kennedy,” Foster said. “I’ve been with them for seven years and gotten to know their family, and they have gotten to know mine. They have been a big part of my life.”
“Words cannot describe the depth of respect I have for Angelique’s character, commitment to excellence and wise counsel,” said President Mark Kennedy. “I am deeply appreciative for all Angelique has done to make first George Washington University and now the University of North Dakota a better place. As a true partner for seven years, I will deeply miss my hour by hour interactions with Angelique professionally and personally. It is a joy to work with her. Angelique’s extraordinary effectiveness will be hard to replicate, causing members of both the UND community and my family to express concern about how she will be replaced. My answer is instinctual, to ask Angelique to lead the search in finding the right person to whom to pass the baton. Debbie and I look forward to keeping close to Angelique in the years ahead.”
“We wish her the absolute best for her next adventure, but we will miss her gracious and friendly presence here on campus,” said First Lady Debbie Kennedy. “Angelique has accomplished so much in these three years. She is disciplined and organized but also knows how to share a good laugh!”
“Angelique has been invaluable to the President and the entire leadership team,” said Tom DiLorenzo, Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs. “She has a work ethic and personality that is well-suited to the position. And she is such a genuine and nice person. She will be sorely missed.”
Foster said she has also enjoyed Grand Forks and UND.
“From day one, I felt welcomed in the community,” Foster said, remembering that when she and her mother purchased a new bike, they had trouble fitting it into Foster’s Honda Accord.
“We were trying to stuff it into the car, and a man came over, pulled a bungee cord out of his pocket and lashed the bike to the car. That would never happen in D.C.”
“Angelique has been wonderful to work with,” said Cheri Williams, administrative officer in the president’s office. “She is always upbeat and positive. She brought a new fresh outside perspective to our office with enthusiasm and grace, and will be missed both professionally and personally.”
Foster said that what she will miss most are the relationships she fostered (pardon the pun) at UND.
“Cheri has practically become a family member,” Foster said. “She invites me to Thanksgiving, and I will miss having dinner with her and Chris (Naas, administrative officer in the president’ office). I have felt so welcome in Grand Forks.”