Joe K. Foster Endowed Scholarship Established Honoring EPCC Trailblazer
Joe K. Foster Endowed Scholarship Established Honoring EPCC Trailblazer

Joe K. Foster Endowed Scholarship Established honoring EPCC Trailblazer

Today, El Paso Community College (EPCC) announced the creation of the Joe K. Foster Endowed Scholarship.

This endowment was made possible by the generosity of former Senator Joe Christie who donated $25,000 to the Foundation for El Paso Community College (EPCC) to create this fund in the memory of his dear friend and college supporter, Joe K. Foster, who passed away in 2013. Both Christie and Foster were instrumental in founding EPCC and their legacy continues with this gift.   Their work and collective efforts were also recognized at the reception attended by Foster’s family, EPCC leadership, elected officials and other guests.

It is because of the vision and commitment of Senator Joe Christie that EPCC became the Best Place to Start and Finish. In December 1968, Senator Christie formed a steering committee to establish a community college in El Paso and he made Joe Foster, a prominent business, political and civic leader, his co-chair. The committee set out to visit and study other community colleges in Texas and eventually persuaded voters to create the junior college district. After months of work, their efforts were successful and in 1969, EPCC was established. Senator Christie gives significant credit to Foster and said, “It’s easy to have an idea but the real hard work was executing that idea, which I passed to Joe, who gave his time and money to make it a reality.”

Not only was Foster influential in the establishment of EPCC, he served as the first Chair of the Board of Trustees board while Senator Christie worked to secure funding from the Texas Legislature. Senator Christie, along with Foster and the Board of Trustees and with the help of community members, requested state financial assistance and the 62nd Texas Legislature appropriated the funds. Because of the combined efforts of Foster and Christie, EPCC was able to open its doors to 901 students in 1971. Since then, the college has grown to enrolling more than 24,000 students at five campuses and has awarded more than 80,000 degrees that have helped graduates get on the path to their best lives. “There are tens of thousands of El Pasoans who owe Joe Foster for the education they got at the community college, giving them a better shot at life,” Senator Christie said.

“We have a history of strong community leaders like Senator Christie and Mr. Foster who were determined to ensure individuals in our community had access to a community college,” EPCC President Dr. William Serrata said. “By creating the Joe K. Foster Endowed Scholarship, Senator Christie has once again ensured that access to higher education will continue for students far into the future.”

Senator Christie believes that his donation in honor of Joe Foster will positively impact the students who receive it in addition to the larger community. “The resources that are here are people and the way we develop those resources is through an education. Every time I come back to El Paso, I am amazed at the growth of El Paso Community College,” Christie said. “I feel it was the most important event of my legislative career.”

Many members of Foster’s family attended the event, including his children and grandchildren.  They reflected on the strong friendship between him and Senator Christie, including their adventures together as avid runners.  Stories were shared about how they not only ran marathons but also worked together to make El Paso better.  “It’s just wonderful that our dad is being remembered this way, thanks to his good friend Joe Christie.  Our dad was always a champion for the little guy.  He knew that the community college’s creation would open doors for a lot of El Pasoans who weren’t able to continue their education beyond high school at that time.   He spent a tremendous amount of time and effort to get it off the ground, but people forget,” Cindy Lyons Fields, daughter of Joe Foster said.

Foster’s son Stephen Foster also described how passionate his father was about establishing the community college and the tireless efforts he put in to get EPCC started.  He and his siblings said it was a meaningful honor to have this endowment in his name by Senator Christie and they wished he was alive to see it.   “Senator Christie is a true gentleman and we cannot tell him enough how much we appreciate this honor for our father and the friendship that they had,” Stephen Foster said.  “I believe my father helped set the stage for EPCC to educate hundreds of thousands of El Pasoans and for the college to become one of the top community colleges in the nation.”    

Joe Foster, who had a commercial real estate business, valued and emphasized education.  He believed establishing EPCC would provide much needed expanded access to higher education and a path towards employment that would benefit the entire community.  “Dad (Joe Foster) loved El Paso and worked to see it grow and improve in many areas,” David Foster said.  “We know that his work for EPCC was the most important civic achievement of his life which has and will continue to impact thousands of El Pasoans.” 

EPCC appreciates Senator Christie for creating the Joe K. Foster Endowed Scholarship.   The college values his continued generosity and service as a visionary legislator and community leader. His ambitious plan for an ever-greater El Paso that included a community college improved access to higher education, trained skilled workers and has improved our region for generations. Senator Christie also has an endowed scholarship at EPCC that was created during EPCC’s 50th Anniversary in 2019 and that continues to help students.

“We are so grateful to receive Senator Christie’s generous gift in honor of Joe K. Foster,” Keri Moe, Associate Vice President of External Relations Communication & Development said. “We envision a greater border community where all individuals pursue learning and improve their quality of life through education. One of the ways to accomplish that is through the generosity of donors like Senator Joe Christie that create scholarships that allow students to attend school who wouldn’t be able to do so otherwise.”

To support student scholarships, donate to the Joe K. Foster Endowment or to the Senator Joe Christie Endowment, visit the Foundation for EPCC at

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