Dr. Kenneth E. Burke
Office of Development Loses Dedicated Leader and Beloved Mentor
UAB’s office of development, alumni, and external relations was saddened this past summer by the unexpected passing of Kenneth E. Burke, Ph.D., who had been the associate vice president for development for the past eight years. He died on July 1, 2008.
“From the first time I met Ken, I knew that he was the right person for the job,” says Shirley Salloway Kahn, Ph.D., vice president for development, alumni, and external relations.
“He was a wonderful friend and colleague to all of us. His wise counsel and vast fund-raising experience were instrumental in our success. His legacy at UAB will be carried on by those he befriended and mentored. Our hearts go out to his wife, Becki, and his two children, Brad and Christy.”
Burke earned his bachelor of arts degree from Miami University, his master’s in education from Kent State University, and his Ph.D. from the University of Maryland, where he was named to the Phi Kappa Phi honor society. He was a member of the National Board of Podiatric Medical Examiners and past chairman of the Council on Podiatric Medical Education in Bethesda, Maryland. He also had been a member of the Maryland League for the Handicapped.
At UAB, Dr. Burke was responsible for major gift development and corporate and foundation relations. He was directly involved in the university’s comprehensive fund-raising campaign, which ended in 2003 and raised $388.7 million, the largest such campaign in the history of Alabama.
“Dr. Burke’s style was that of a true teacher and storyteller,” says Virginia Gilbert Loftin, development director for the Department of Medicine. “His knowledge of the transactional side of fund-raising was unparalleled on our team, but he never lost sight—and never let us lose sight—of the fact that we are in the people business, and that the transaction is merely the vehicle through which people will fulfill their dreams and visions. We are here to help them, and he taught me that is a noble calling. Dr. Burke led by example with his brilliant and clever mind and his deeply giving heart.”
To honor Dr. Burke’s dedication to philanthropy, an endowment has been created in his name. Dr. Kahn adds, “In reflecting upon what Ken has meant to our university, our community, and to each of us personally, we decided to establish the Kenneth E. Burke and Rebecca S. Reardon Endowment to recognize outstanding effort in the field to which Ken devoted his life. The award will be presented annually to a member of our advancement team—development, alumni, and external relations—who exemplifies the qualities Ken prized most in his people: innovation, integrity, tenacity, commitment to the donor, teamwork, and mentoring of our team’s newest members.”
“Ken was a true mentor to each of his employees,” says Daphne Powell, director of stewardship at UAB and development director for the Honors Academy. “He took a vested interest in each person’s success. He coached each employee on a daily basis. Ken also had a great story for almost any occasion, and he managed difficult situations with tact and a tremendous sense of humor. We miss him every single day.”