Gen. Foley resigns as MMI head

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, April 28, 2004

MARION — With 37 years of active military service, retired U.S. Army Lieutenant General Robert F. Foley, the 14th president of Marion Military Institute, prepares to end yet another very successful, though short, milestone in his career.

Foley, who accepted the position of President on August 30, 2000, announced his resignation earlier this year.

Second year Cadet Ryan Parker, from Winterhaven, Fla., said Foley will be missed for his ability to counsel and advise the young men and women at the school.

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“Not everybody gets to be around a man of that honor and prestige,” Parker said.

According to the Chairman of the Board of Trustees, Charles Holmes, Foley will say his final farewell to MMI and the Marion community after the summer graduation ceremony in June.

“We’re very sorry he’s leaving,” Holmes said.

“He’s been a great asset to the school.”

Following Foley’s announcement in January, a search committee was formed to assist in locating a new president for the school and, although the proceedings of the search remain entirely confidential, the committee plans to have a replacement in position after the departure of Gen. Foley.

“The search committee really has their job cut out for them,” Holmes said.

“I think they’re going to be hard pressed to find a person with his loyal character and prestige.”

Foley, who was born in Newton, Mass. on May 30, 1941, graduated from the United States Military Academy in 1963 and has held numerous command and staff positions throughout his lengthy career.

With a Master of Business Administration Degree from Fairleigh Dickinson University, Foley’s command positions include company command with the 25th Infantry Division in Vietnam and battalion and brigade command with the third Infantry Division in Germany; Commandant of Cadets at the U.S. Military Academy in West Point, New York; Commanding General of the U.S. Army Military District of Washington and many more.

Before retiring from active duty and assuming the Presidency of MMI, Foley served as Commanding General for the Fifth U.S. Army in Fort Sam Houston, Texas.

Marion Mayor Edward Daniel said, “I’d like to see him stay.

He has a lot of credibility and has worked hard to strengthen the school.”

According to Holmes, endowments have doubled since Foley’s Presidency at MMI and enrollment has been steady.

“Gen. Foley looks at all of the enrollment applications individually and we now have the best cadets we’ve had in a long time.

He’s helped the quality of our cadets improve drastically.”

Besides his command positions, Foley has received several peacetime and combat awards including the Congressional Medal of Honor, two Distinguished Service Medals, six Legions of Merit, five Meritorious Service Medals, the Bronze Star, the Purple Heart and the Combat Infantryman’s Badge, along with the Parachutists Badge and the Ranger Tab.

Mayor Daniel believes that the next president of MMI will need to be a multi-talented person with a strong military background, great academic achievement and experience at raising funds.

“Also, MMI and Judson College both have strong bonds to the community,” Daniel said.

“I think it’s very important to find someone who has good intentions for both schools at heart.”

Judson College, also located in Marion, was founded in 1838 and is the only Baptist Women’s College in the state of Alabama.

MMI, which was founded in 1842, is home to a diverse group of students who come from all over the nation.

MMI is one of the only junior colleges in the U.S. that offers unique military training programs such as the Army’s two-year commissioning program (ECP) and the Service Academy Preparation (SAP).

The ECP program is an Army Reserve Officers Training Corps program through which qualified students can be commissioned as a second Lieutenant after only two years of college.

Second year Cadet, Steven Eaton from Mobile, said, “Foley always looks out for the well-being of the cadets.

He opens up a lot of opportunities for out of state cadets who want to come here.”

As for Foley’s future, it looks like retirement might not be a possibility just yet.

“I know he has several job offers on his desk,” Holmes said.

“I don’t think Foley and his family will stay in Marion but they’ve definitely fallen in love with the South, with the climate and the people, and it’s probably where they’ll make their home from now on.”

Foley and his wife, Julie, have two sons and a daughter: Mark, who is a Captain in the Air Force; David, who is a Captain in the Army; and Sara, who is Director of Volunteers of America in Washington, D.C.