2022 Founders Medal Recipients: Paul and Alejandra Foster
Established in 1969, the Founders Medal is one of Baylor’s most distinguished awards and is reserved for men and women whose service and contribution have been unusually significant to the life and future of the University. Paul and Alejandra Foster have helped shape Baylor’s flourishing future and physical campus.
Paul, a 1979 graduate of Baylor’s Hankamer School of Business and a past member of Hankamer’s Board of Advisors, and Alejandra have served the last four years as co-chairs of the Give Light National Steering Committee. Give Light is the largest fundraising campaign in Baylor history, aimed at undergirding the aspirations of Baylor’s strategic plan Illuminate. The Fosters have given generously to support students and faculty through Baylor Athletics, Hankamer School of Business, the Foster Academic Challenge and the Paul L. Foster Success Center, named in honor of their support.
“Paul and Alejandra share a commitment to excellence in higher education and a love for Baylor University,” President Linda A. Livingstone, Ph.D., said. “Their philanthropy has shaped the trajectory of this institution as they have shared Baylor’s vision and implementation of Illuminate. Their leadership and service have truly contributed in significant and transformational ways, and we are grateful for their philanthropy.”
In May 2019, Baylor announced a then-anonymous $100 million gift from the Fosters — the largest current gift ever received by the University. That sparked unprecedented support for faculty through the creation of a dollar-for-dollar matching program for qualifying gifts providing critical faculty chairs at Baylor.
Now known as the Foster Academic Challenge, the program prompted the funding of 14 faculty endowed chairs, supporting varied initiatives and areas of study such as materials science, business, health, entrepreneurship, communication sciences and disorders, biochemistry, biomedical engineering, and food security. The Foster Academic Challenge generated annual support for faculty chairs equivalent to $50 million in endowment.
The Fosters’ May 2019 gift also provided substantial momentum for the Give Light campaign’s priority capital projects. Baylor’s future basketball arena — the Paul and Alejandra Foster Pavilion — was named in recognition of their transformational support. Baylor Vice President and Director of Athletics Mack B. Rhoades IV said the Fosters have enriched the Baylor experience for students, student-athletes and fans.
“Paul and Alejandra represent the best of what we hope each of our 500-plus student-athletes will become — leaders in their community who use their resources and service to support and benefit others in transformational ways,” Rhoades said. “They are truly deserving of this honor.”
In 2013, the Fosters gave a $35 million gift to name the Paul L. Foster Campus for Business and Innovation. A portion of the gift also supported construction of McLane Stadium.
Paul is the founder and CEO of Franklin Mountain Investment LLC (FMI) and its affiliated companies. FMI is a diversified investment and operating company with holdings in real estate, energy, private equity, construction, aviation, sports, medical devices and hospitality industries. He is director on the boards of FMI and its affiliates, and he sits on several corporate, education, nonprofit and organization boards. Paul was named chairman of the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) Board of Directors in October 2021.
Alejandra is vice president and a board member of Almacenes Distribuidores de la Frontera, a company that operates more than 300 convenience stores in Ciudad Juárez, Mexico, where she owns the Domino’s Pizza franchise. She is co-owner and president of Franklin Franchise Ventures LLC, a company that operates, among other businesses, franchise rights for La Madeleine Country French Café in El Paso, southern New Mexico and Arizona markets. Alejandra also serves on various councils and boards of directors, including the MD Anderson Cancer Center Board of Visitors.
The Fosters are generous philanthropists and significant supporters of the Borderplex cities of El Paso, Juárez and Las Cruces, New Mexico. They have received several Baylor honors, including the Baylor Legacy Award and the Baylor Distinguished Alumni Award. They have been honored for their faithful support of Baylor as Legacy Members of the 1845 Society.