Melinda Burke ’75 ’81 has served as president of the University of Arizona Alumni Association and vice president of Alumni Relations since 2011.

A Forever Wildcat Life member, Burke makes vital connections with alumni across the country, connecting them to each other and to the university. She is the liaison to the UAAA governing board, composed of diverse alumni volunteers. In this role, she ensures the alumni voice is represented at the university. An expanded focus on alumni analytics has provided greater insight into what alumni are seeking from the UAAA. As a result, the UAAA established the UA Alumni Career Lab, providing professional development and career opportunities to alumni. Burke also led the effort this spring to launch the Bear Down Network, an online alumni community supporting professional networking and mentorship.

An experienced higher education leader, Burke is an active participant in the Council of Alumni Association Executives (CAAE), Council for Advancement and Support of Education (CASE) and CASE Summer Institute in Alumni Relations and serves on the Graduway University Advisory Council.

Burke was previously the director of the UA Terry J. Lundgren Center for Retailing where she was a Petsmart Professor of Practice. She also advised and connected students with industry partners to create internships and career opportunities. 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.

A native Arizonan, Burke is married to Bruce Burke ’71 ’75. They have three adult daughters, one of whom is a proud alumna of the UA College of Medicine. She also has five grandchildren.

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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,, 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.