May 25, 2024

Randy Plavajka | Banner Dr. Rod Foist, associate professor of electrical and computer engineering, plays “Tears in Heaven” by Eric Clapton on the classical guitar, an instrument he has worked toward mastering in his lifetime.

Dr. Foist goes beyond norms with musical mastery, gift

While balancing a busy schedule, Dr. Rod Foist, associate professor of electrical and computer engineering, uses music as an outlet and gateway to express himself.

Foist came to California Baptist University in August 2011. Since his arrival, he has been an asset to the department and his students.

“He’s very engaging and enthusiastic about the material,” said Jesus Martin, senior electrical and computer engineering major. “It’s a lot of fun being in his classes, receiving encouragement and advice throughout the week.“

Since coming to CBU, Foist said he has seen the engineering department change and expand in diversity, from about 15 faculty members to more than 30 full-time professors.

His 40-year-long career in electrical and computer engineering began when he joined the Navy at 19.

Because of Foist’s experience in repairing aircraft radars in the Navy, he went back to school at age 25 to receive a degree in electrical engineering.

“I was an undergrad who graduated in 1982,” Foist said. “That was more than 30 years ago. To see how tremendously technology has changed — that’s amazing.”

Foist returned to school once again 20 years later to receive his doctorate in electrical and computer engineering.

During this challenging journey he had music as an avenue of expression, a talent he acquired after taking lessons from a professional upon completing his master’s degree.

“I had fallen in love with hearing classical guitar. I wrote songs for each of our four children after their graduation and I wrote love songs for my wife,“ Foist said.

Foist said maintaining his nails is an important part of playing the guitar—he tries to never pick anything up with his right hand to avoid accidentally breaking a nail.

He said faith is also an important aspect that is implemented into his art, with any of his songs having a scriptural basis from which he builds upon for the feeling of the song.

Foist said he came to know Christ during his first three months in the Navy.

This later led to traveling overseas to do mission work in Singapore, where he lived for eight years.

He and his wife now lead worship at Riverside Mandarin Baptist Church.

“Becoming a Christian gave direction to my life,” Foist said. “I’m not a perfect Christian. I fall down, but Jesus in my life has made a difference.”

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