Austin Burke graduated with Phi Beta Kappa honors from Dickinson College in 1972. Matriculating after serving four years as a Russian translator in the USAF, he earned a summa cum laude B.A. in economics. Having married while in the service, he also graduated with an 18-month-old son and a wife expecting their second child. Serving as President of the Greater Scranton Chamber of Commerce, he developed and oversaw a number of NGOs that advanced employment, education, and community development. As a long-time board member of the International Economic Development Council, Burke shared his decades of experience with other organizations and regions around the world. In Pennsylvania he served as Secretary of DCED under Gov. Edward Rendell. He retired to start a new chapter as an artist, painting iconic architecture of Scranton, Pennsylvania, and resumed college studies in fine art.
His daughter,Judy Burke, followed him to Dickinson. She graduated Phi Beta Kappa, summa cum laude, with a bachelor’s degree in ancient Greek in 1995. When asked on her Dickinson application where she had heard of the College, Judy answered, “I was conceived at Dickinson.” Is it a coincidence that she was accepted? Her parents think not.
As the Editor of Highlights for Children magazine, Judy has been helping to serve “Fun with a Purpose” to children around the world for the past 24 years. She can be seen in 44 Pages, a documentary about Highlights magazine.