was a long-time member of the University
community. He was the husband of UM alumna and UM Child Care Center employee
Stephanie Foster, a UM alumnus, a chef at Sodexho on campus, the son of UM
alumna Laura Morgan, and son-in-law of UM professor emeritus Freddie Ford. He
was also the winner 2005 Life Raft Debate. Zack passed away in his sleep on
Sunday, July 1st, 2007 He was 36 years old. We will all always miss him.
Here is what the
post-debate write-up said in 2005:
Sous Chef Zack Foster! In a wide-ranging performance that included a variety of
delectable promises, including the manufacture of beer and wine, Zack had the
audience of more than 500 people drooling from the start. Then he laid it all to
rest in the Q and A period. While the other panelists explained how they would
lead the new civilization, Zack said all he wanted to do was feed people.
The defending champion, Wilson Fallin, once again extolled the necessity of
History as a guide to the future and to our own identities, but to no avail.
Jackie Nuby, of Counseling, Leadership and Foundations argues that the field of
Education encompassed all of the other disciplines represented and then some,
and noted that she could already cook. Carl Doerfler promised to use his
knowledge of Political Science to create a better government that would not
trample some peoples’ strong preferences due to mob rule. Somehow, this meant
people could all keep smoking. Sally Bell blamed all the world’s woes on poor
communication skills, and said her study of Communication Arts would make the
new world a better place. And, finally, Eric Vaccarella argues that all the
wisdom of the ages depended on our abilities to translate the works of those who
had previously amassed it in other cultures.
The rebuttal period saw the tone of the debate drop a bit, Carl Doerfler said he
had not planned on running s negative campaign, but the belittling remarks by
Jackie Nuby forced his hand. Eric Vaccarella compared his colleague from the
Political Science Department to some notorious Political Figures from the past.
Everyone else alternately took shots at their opponents and extolled their own
Then, in a new twist to the debate, Michael Patton appeared on stage as the
Devil’s Advocate and urged the audience to let everyone on the stage drown. He
attacked the panel in general as pathetic wretches begging for mercy they did
not deserve and then added personalized barbs aimed at each of the panelists
In the end, though, an army, and a life raft, it seems, travels on its stomach,
and Zack gobbled up the lion’s share of the nearly 500 ballots cast, becoming
the first non-faculty member to win the debate.
All in all, it was a fun event and the biggest debate ever. Emcee and former
student Mike Kitchen handled the debate with his typical light and funny touch,
and the participants and the audience had a grand time.