Burkes to retire after next academic year

Staff Writer
The Chronicle Express
Dr. Joseph and Dr. Diane Burke

Keuka College President Joseph G. Burke and his wife, Professor and Chair of Education Diane Burke, announced Monday that they will retire at the conclusion of the 2010-11 academic year.

“After 13 very wonderful, but very busy years at Keuka College, we have decided that it is now time for us to prepare to enter the next phase of our lives together,” said President Burke. “Our upcoming retirements will allow us the time to focus more on our children and grandchildren, especially during the critical, formative years in the lives of our grandchildren. We will also spend more time traveling and working in support of the various religious, educational, community, and environmental causes to which we are personally committed.”

“Under President Burke’s outstanding leadership, Keuka College hastoday become a global education institution with students, faculty and instructional activities occurring across continents and involving traditional, non-traditional, international, distance education, undergraduate, and graduate programs,” said Melissa Brown, chair of the College’s Board of Trustees.

“We are all most grateful for the committed endeavors and vast accomplishments gained through the extraordinary efforts of Joe and Diane,” added Brown. “Without reservation, I warmly extend to them, on behalf of our college community, our sincere appreciation and heartfelt best wishes upon making this important decision.”

According to Brown, former Board chairs Frank Strong and Chris Iversen will serve as co-chairs of the campus-wide Presidential Search Committee that will identify President Burke’s successor.

Under President Burke’s leadership, Keuka has gone from a college that offered bachelor’s degrees for traditional undergraduates to one that also offers degree completion programs for adult students, master’s degrees, online courses, and boasts the largest enrollment of any U.S. college or university operating in China. And recently, the College extended its sphere of influence in the Pacific Rim to Vietnam.

Enrollment has skyrocketed during President Burke’s tenure. Eleven years ago, total enrollment stood at 750. Today, it exceeds 1,600, with another 3,500 Chinese students enrolled in four universities in that country and 125 at the Vietnamese National University in Hanoi.

A native of Chicago, Ill., Joseph Burke became the 18th president of Keuka College Aug. 1, 1997. He previously served as director of education and tenured professor of political science at the U.S. Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs, Colo. He was also director of the Academy’s Center for Educational Excellence.

A former Air Force colonel, he served in public affairs and political military assignments in Virginia, Oklahoma, Colorado, Greece, and Germany, and in temporary assignments in Israel, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, England, Norway, Denmark, Italy, Spain, Japan, Belgium, the Netherlands, and Panama.

President Burke holds a bachelor’s degree from the U.S. Air Force Academy, a master’s degree in international studies from the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University, and a Ph.D. in international relations from the University of Denver.

He served as a Middle East Fellow, sponsored by the American Professors for Peace in the Middle East; a Malone Fellow, sponsored by the National Council on U.S.-Arab Relations; and an American Council on Education Fellow. The president has published in the area of Middle East politics, unconventional weapons proliferation, U.S. arms sales policy, and higher education administration.

He has served in several national educational leadership roles. He was elected the first military officer to serve as chair of the International Security Studies Section of the International Studies Association. He served as chair of the Independent College Fund of New York, was a two-time Chair of the Presidents’ Council of the Northeast Athletic Conference, and has been a member of Air Force Academy Association of Graduates Board of Directors.

Diane Burke holds a bachelor’s degree from Elmhurst College, a master’s degree from The College of William & Mary, and a Ph.D. from the University of Colorado.

The Burkes are active members of the community. They both are the joint recipients of the Spirit of Light Award, sponsored by the Catholic Charities of the Finger Lakes  and in March received the Seneca Waterways Council’s (Boy Scouts of America) Distinguished Citizen Award, which honors those who have made a difference in the lives of children and the community.