Melinda Burke ’75 ’81 leads the Alumni Association in engaging and connecting alumni to the University of Arizona and celebrates a strong community of alumni and friends.

Burke collaborates with UA colleges and campus partners to align the Alumni Association and University’s mission of serving UA graduates and connecting constituents through communications, career networking, and alumni outreach. As a liaison to the association’s board of directors — composed of a diverse group of alumni volunteers from around the country — she listens carefully to alumni needs and serves to strengthen alumni networks regionally and nationally.

A dedicated alumna and former UA professor, Burke’s UA student and alumni connections are far reaching. She enjoys meeting alumni, making vital connections, and embodying the Wildcat spirit intrinsic to the UA experience as a Wildcat for Life.

Previously, Burke served as the director of the UA Terry J. Lundgren Center for Retailing in the Norton School of Family and Consumer Sciences, where she was a Petsmart Professor of Practice and built corporate partnerships with industry leaders to expand the educational opportunities for retail students. Burke also launched an award-winning program for students in free enterprise and organized the global retailing conference hosted by Terry J. Lundgren in Tucson. In 2010, she established the Terry J. Lundgren Center for Retailing Endowment for Excellence with a $1.3 million gift from the retailing and fashion industries to support students in the Retailing and Consumer Sciences major.

Burke earned a bachelor’s of science degree from the UA College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, majoring in textiles and clothing, and a master’s of science degree from the UA graduate college.

She is the recipient of several awards, including the 2010 College of Agriculture and Life Sciences Award for Outstanding Effort in Development and a 2008 Professional Achievement Award from the Alumni Association.

A native Arizonan, Burke is married with three children. Her husband Bruce Burke ’71 ’75 is a Tucson lawyer and graduate from the UA College of Agriculture and Life Sciences and the James E. Rogers College of Law. She has three adult daughters, one of whom is a proud alumna of the UA College of Medicine.

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Melinda Burke as Director of the Terry J. Lundgren Center

Petsmart Professor of Practice
In 2009, Burke was appointed the Petsmart Professor of Practice honoring her for her work in providing professional development opportunities to students. She spent 12 years in the retailing industry prior to joining the UA in 1993, as both a merchant and general manager in two Arizona-based retail chains. As a professor, Burke taught retailing strategy, leadership, sales, and negotiation, lead case study competitions and coordinated experiential learning opportunities for students in the UA retailing and consumer sciences degree program. She maintains a strong network of retailing alumni who both mentor, coach, and hire the graduates of the university.
 
Corporate Partnerships
As center director, she collaborated with 34 industry corporate partners to expand resources available to faculty and students to support education, outreach, and research. Innovative partnerships with Petsmart, Macy’s Inc, NRFF, Shop.org, Altria Sales and Office Depot consistently expand the educational opportunities for students in retail strategy, ecommerce, and supply chain management.
 
Students in Free Enterprise (SIFE)
In 1998, she launched the successful SIFE organization on campus, taking the team to the Final Four at the national competition for seven consecutive years. In 2008 the UA SIFE Team was the national champion and she traveled with 12 students to Singapore to represent the USA at the SIFE World Cup.
 
Global Retailing Conference
Since 2002, she has coordinated the Global Retailing Conference, which focuses on the leadership, vision, and agility needed to drive key innovative strategies that can transform organizations and build customer loyalty. In 2011, Macy’s CEO Terry Lundgren was joined by Martha Stewart and Tommy Hilfiger, headlining a conference attended by more than 300 people.
 
Terry J. Lundgren Center for Retailing Endowment
In 2010, Burke established the Terry J. Lundgren Center for Retailing Endowment for Excellence with a $1.3 million gift from the retailing and fashion industries.