The University of Washington Business School is being renamed the Michael G. Foster School of Business — becoming the third school...

The University of Washington Business School is being renamed the Michael G. Foster School of Business — becoming the third school on campus to bear a person’s name.

UW officials say the move recognizes the more than $50 million The Foster Foundation has given over the years — the largest gift in the business school’s 90-year history.

Michael Foster, who died in 2003 at age 66, was an entrepreneur who attended the UW. Foster’s parents, Albert O. and Evelyn Foster, who started The Foster Foundation, also went to the university, as did Michael Foster’s son, Greg Foster. The foundation supports Northwest communities.

Under Michael Foster’s leadership, his family’s Seattle-based brokerage firm, Foster & Marshall, grew into one of the largest regional brokerages in the nation. Shearson/American Express bought the firm in 1982 for $76 million.

“It’s a perfect fit because Mike was business, and here in Seattle he had a touch that enriched a lot of people’s lives,” said Jill Godsell, executive director of The Foster Foundation.

The UW Business School has been “euphoric” about the foundation’s support, said Jim Jiambalvo, dean of the school. “It’s a gift that can transform the school.”

About 2,100 students attend the business school, the UW’s fourth-largest school.

“We’re already a very good to excellent school, but we lack the resources to become one of the very best schools in America, which is our goal,” he said. “It’s going to provide funds to attract additional outstanding faculty members, scholarship support for outstanding students, and funds for developing new programs.”

Of the 17 schools at the UW, the only others named after people are the Daniel J. Evans School of Public Affairs, after former Gov. Dan Evans, and the Henry M. Jackson School of International Studies, after the late Washington Sen. Henry M. “Scoop” Jackson.

The UW Board of Regents is to formally approve the name later this month.

Information from The Seattle Times archives is included in this report. Judy Chia Hui Hsu: 206-464-3315 or jhsu@seattletimes.com