About Robert A. Foisie
About Robert A. Foisie, ‘56
The WPI School of Business was renamed the Robert A. Foisie School of Business in 2014 in recognition of Foisie’s unprecedented $40 million gift to WPI –– the largest in the university’s 149-year history.
Over the years, Foisie has built a long and generous history of philanthropy at WPI, with a particular focus on scholarships. Prior to making this gift, the trustee emeritus was already the university’s largest single donor. His philanthropy to WPI includes the establishment of the Robert Foisie Scholars Fund in 2009 and 17 other undergraduate scholarships named in honor of WPI professors who influenced his life.
Foisie, who currently resides in Port Saint Lucie, Fla., comes from humble beginnings and is a self-made innovator and entrepreneur. Born and raised in West Hartford, Conn., and became the first member of his family to attend college when he enrolled at WPI in 1952. A scholarship student himself, Foisie graduated from WPI in 1956 with a BS in mechanical engineering. From there, he went on to earn a master’s degree from Cornell University in 1958 and then worked as an engineer at Hamilton Standard Co. and later served as chief production engineer at Pratt & Whitney in Hartford, Conn.
When he was just starting out in his career, Foisie patented an innovative design for a fuel-control valve for jet engines that was a major improvement over the existing standard. Over the years, he channeled that entrepreneurial spirit into businesses ranging from paper processing and carton manufacturing to real estate and telecommunications.
“The financial assistance that I received during my time at WPI allowed me to stay in school and realize my potential as an innovator and entrepreneur,” said Foisie. “This university means a great deal to me, and the knowledge that I gained here, the people I engaged with, and my experiences have been invaluable to my growth as a person and a successful businessman.”