Foster to give commencement address at North Central College

Congressman Bill Foster at a committee meeting.
U.S. Rep. Bill Foster, D-Ill., during a committee hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington. | AP Photo/Charles Dharapak

U.S. Rep. Bill Foster (D-Naperville), a scientist and businessman representing the 11th Congressional District, will be the speaker for North Central College’s 149th commencement on June 14.

Foster will receive an honorary doctor of laws degree also.

Foster’s district includes part of the North Central College campus.

He holds a bachelor’s degree in physics from the University of Wisconsin–Madison and a Ph.D. in physics from Harvard University. After completing his Ph.D., he pursued a 22-year career in high-energy (particle) physics at Fermilab near Batavia.

He has been elected a fellow of the American Physical Society, was on the team receiving the 1989 Bruno Rossi Prize for cosmic ray physics for the discovery of the neutrino burst from the supernova SN 1987A, received the Particle Accelerator Technology Prize from the Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers, and was awarded an Energy Conservation award from the U.S. Department of Energy for his invention and application of permanent magnets for Fermilab’s accelerators.

Foster’s business career began at age 19 when he and his younger brother cofounded Electronic Theatre Controls, Inc., a company that now manufactures more than half the theater lighting equipment in the United States.

Foster, a Democrat, was first elected to the 11th District seat in 2012. He previously served from March 2008 until January 2011 as representative of the Illinois 14th Congressional District.

He will square off with Republican Darlene Senger of Naperville in the general election in November.

The commencement ceremony at 10 a.m. June 14 is expected to draw more than 5,000 parents, alumni and visitors to North Central College’s Residence Hall/Recreation Center, 440 S. Brainard St. Tickets are not required but seating is on a first-come, first-served basis so guests are encouraged to arrive early; doors open at 8:30 a.m. for guest seating. The academic procession begins at 9:40 a.m.

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