D.C. Couple Commits $1 Million To MSC Courtyard

Betsy and Peter Forster of Washington, D. C., pledged $1 million to the Texas A&M Foundation in support of the renovation and expansion of Texas A&M University's Memorial Student Center, and the recreated MSC courtyard and garden will bear their name. The 14,000-square-foot space, located between the MSC and the Board of Regents’ offices, was part of the MSC’s three-year, $125 million expansion and renovation project.

Funded by the university, student fees and private gifts, the renovation began in 2009 and was completed ahead of schedule on April 21, 2012. The foundation has raised $16 million of its $20 million MSC campaign goal, which will offset construction costs and fund MSC student programs.

The MSC courtyard and garden was refreshed to recreate a secluded, quiet outdoor area for individuals to enjoy or for small- to medium-sized events.

“President Loftin asked me to consider a gift to the Memorial Student Center,” said Pete Forster. “Betsy and I discussed it, and she encouraged us to do something for the MSC since it was an important part of my time at Texas A&M.”

A native of South Texas, Pete Forster graduated from Harlingen High School. In the Corps of Cadets, “Corky,” as he was called by classmates, was a member of Squadron 9, Third Group Staff and the Ross Volunteers. He participated in the MSC Student Conference on National Affairs (SCONA) and worked for four years in the MSC as a waiter, bus boy and cashier to help pay for college.

But the MSC wasn’t merely a place where he worked; it held special meaning. Leroy A. Balser, the father of Forster’s best friend at A&M (the late Gary Balser), supervised construction of the MSC in the early 1950s. Forster had deep respect for the elder Balser.

“I would walk into the MSC and think about Mr. Balser’s role in building it,” Forster said. “His influence helped me decide to major in civil engineering.”

Forster earned bachelors’ degrees in business administration and civil engineering. Following graduation in 1963, Forster served four years in the U.S. Air Force. He later worked for Blount Brothers Corp. and Blount International, before joining Clark Construction Group, where he is now chairman and CEO.

The Forsters also support the Texas A&M civil engineering program, Corps of Cadets, George Bush Presidential Library Foundation and MSC SCONA.

The Texas A&M Foundation is a private, nonprofit organization that solicits and manages investments in academics and leadership programs to enhance Texas A&M’s capability to be among the best universities.

To learn more about the MSC renovation and expansion project, contact David Wilkinson, senior director of major gifts for the Texas A&M Foundation, at amfoundation@tamu.edu, (800) 392-3310 or (979) 845-8161.

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