COLUMBIA — Laughter rang from the rotunda of Jesse Hall as friends and supporters of retiring Provost Brian Foster and Vice Chancellor of Administrative Services Jackie Jones celebrated the administrators' dedication to MU.
Speakers took turns making jokes and recounting memories of the two, at some points pausing to let the crowd laugh over "Brianisms" — Foster's well-known phrases — and the potential of WWJD — what would Jackie do — bracelets in the Administrative Services department.
Both administrators announced their retirement earlier this year, and MU faculty, staff and students gathered Friday evening to reflect on their time at the university.
Chancellor Brady Deaton began the event by talking about his gratitude for Foster's and Jones' constant pursuit of progress at MU, a sentiment many other university administrators echoed throughout the evening.
"These individuals have one very important thing in common — they are tireless, dedicated, 24/7 workers on MU's behalf," Deaton said.
Dean of the School of Journalism Dean Mills polled fellow deans for a word or phrase to describe Foster: "Lets deans do work, collaborates, consultative and visionary, encouraging of innovative thought, integrity, openness, tenacious — that one keeps coming up," Mills said in response.
Deputy Provost Ken Dean touched on Foster's immense support of female faculty and his quickness of thinking.
"On a personal level, he is fair, thoughtful, always willing to listen," Dean said. "But he is intense and always moves at breakneck speed. It is a challenge to keep up with him, we all try and don't always succeed."
Speakers also honored Foster's wife, Lerke Foster, as a woman who always welcomed newcomers into the community. Anne Deaton kissed Lerke Foster's cheek in a display of gratitude.
Brady Deaton also honored Jones' contribution of maintaining the beauty of MU.
"If you had any question of our campus' beauty at all, you must only look through the north windows behind me," Deaton said in reference to windows facing Francis Quadrangle and the MU Columns.
Paul Toler, director of Business Services, reflected on Jones' interactions with her staff in her time at MU.
"We are more than a team, we are a family in Administrative Services," Toler said.
At the end of the ceremonies, Foster was presented with a colorful poster in commemoration of his love for the arts, and Jones was given a bench to be dedicated in her name close to the quadrangle.
Foster will retire on Jan. 1 and Jones will leave her position at the end of 2013, Deaton said.
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