Foy, a graduate of the University of Alabama, was a Navy fighter pilot during World War II. He returned to Alabama as assistant dean of students in 1948, but left after two years to join the office of student affairs at Auburn, where he was quickly promoted to director and dean. He was named "Dean of the Year" by the National Association of Student Personnel Administrators in 1975.
James E. Foy Hall (formerly the Foy Student Union) and its renowned "James E. Foy Information Desk", as well as the James E. Foy, V-ODK Sportsmanship Trophy, given to the winner of the Iron Bowl, are named in his honor.
- "James Edgar Foy, beloved Auburn dean, dies at 93." (October 9, 2010) Associated Press/Birmingham News
- Clair, Jillian (October 9, 2010) "James Foy, Auburn icon, dies at 93." The Auburn Plainsman