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Congratulations,
Melinda

Thank you for your commitment to the University of Arizona and for connecting Wildcats around the world with your leadership and vision. You are a true Wildcat for Life.

It is an honor to celebrate the accomplishments of Melinda Burke ’75 ’81 who has served the University of Arizona Alumni Association since 2011. As president of the Alumni Association, Melinda connected Wildcats around the world and galvanized alumni to come together to support the university. Melinda plans to retire from the university on June 26, however, her legacy for engaging and connecting Wildcats for Life around the world will have a lasting impact.

Read the Story here

“I witnessed firsthand Melinda’s commitment and love for the U of A,” said Gilbert Davidson ’98, former Alumni Association governing board member and past chair. “She traveled the globe in pursuit of meeting alumni and serving as an ambassador of the university.”

"It has been a joy to work with Melinda these past few years,” said Robert C. Robbins, president, the University of Arizona. “She is a true Wildcat for Life — her dedication to this university and to our worldwide alumni community is an inspiration. I have relied on her insight and innovative spirit when engaging with our Wildcats, and I truly value her leadership and everything she has done for the University of Arizona and our alumni."

At the Alumni Association, Melinda implemented a range of programs. With a commitment to provide professional development resources to alumni she implemented the Alumni Career Lab to provide much-needed professional development and career resources for alumni.

Her vision included the creation of the Wildcat Mentor Society to support students and alumni and the Cats in the Corner Office speaker series to highlight successful alumni. Under Melinda’s leadership, the Alumni Association also expanded its alumni communications programs through a robust social media presence and the launch of the Bear Down Network, a virtual alumni community.

“Melinda’s leadership in the development of the Alumni Career Lab and Bear Down Network will provide professional and career development opportunities unlike anything we could have imagined as students,” said Dana Campbell ’81, Alumni Association governing board member.

Jessie Bustamante '06

Melinda is an outstanding example of how a leader should walk, talk act and lead. She inspires others to want to do their best and truly live the Wildcat spirit. Ever since day 1 when I met Melinda I knew that I wanted to learn from her and be part of her Wildcat circle. I am honored to have served on the UAAA Board with Melinda & watch her in action. I know that this isn't goodbye, it's just "see you later" because we'll always be connected with our UofA pride. Thank you, Melinda, for everything. Your legacy will live on forever.

Matt Noble '86

Melinda, congrats on all of your years of service to the university. You made a difference. Now enjoy retirement. Hope to see you at a future event.

Kimberley Brooke

Melinda, Melinda, Melinda!  Such fabulous memories, which I will forever cherish!  Fond recollections of working with you on the fabulous Global Retailing Conference - remember that, ho ho ho! Sending you hugs and a glass of wine until we can see each other again!  Your pal, Kim

Dick Armstrong '63

I graduated in 1963.  I moved to Southern California the day after my final exam.  I received a call from the Director of Alumni Affairs, Jim Gibson to join him with several other Alumni at Fool's Steakhouse.  We planned a UA picnic that night and I have been involved in UAAA ever since and have dealt with Hugh Harrelson on through Melinda! 

Shortly after her coming on board she met with most of the active Alums and in the 3 hours she spent with me she took notes of my somewhat biased opinions of what had happened after Kent Rollins retirement from that position.  Malinda became the most engaging, enthusiastic, exuberant, dynamic, exciting Alumni leader of all time!

Her communication skills are awesome as she puts out the frequent posts of UA information, along with UAAA information.

The University will be hard pressed to find an adequate replacement!!!!!

Leslie Allen

So grateful for her support of our Norton School Council of Alumni and Friends!

Graven Prest '10

Congratulations, Melinda! While your Wildcat Journey certainly won't end here, your strong, clear-eyed leadership will be missed at the Alumni Association and the University. I'm honored to have worked with and learned from you over the last year!

Susan Kaleita '09

I was fortunate to work with Melinda at the University of Arizona Alumni Association for three and half years. It was a time of great professional growth and development for me. Melinda always role modeled poise, professionalism, and preparation. One of the biggest things I learned from working with Melinda is that (at least for me) confidence at work comes from doing the work to be prepared.

I will also always remember Melinda's kindness towards me, even after I left the Alumni Association, when I had a series of deaths in the family and a personal health scare. It meant so much to still be treated as a part of the Alumni Association family even years after leaving!

Cale Miller '04

Melinda, thank you for all of your hard work and dedication to the University of Arizona!  Your passion as a teacher (which I know of through my wife Lauren) coupled with your steadfast dedication to the UAAA does not go without a great deal of appreciation!  We think you were a wonderful leader and know that you made an impact on our global community through your constant engagement and hard work.  We enjoyed spending time with you on BayCats events as well as through UA sports tailgates and everything in between!  You will be missed.  Thank you for always being accessible and for making my experience as an alumni volunteer one that was easier by having you as sounding board and resource.  Enjoy yourself, your family, husband and life!!!   Love, Cale and Lauren Miller

Steve Bernstein '88

Thank you, Melinda.
Thank you for being such a great example of the UofA’s culture both internally and externally.
Thank you for always being a dependable smile when needed most.
Thank you for being a friend.
Bear Down!

Teresa Chapman '03

In 1999, I started as a student worker in the Retail department. I loved the major and the professors so much I declared RCSC as my major and had Melinda as my advisor.  The rest of my years at the UofA, I worked within the FCS building, went to classes and was involved in Students In Free Enterprise. Melinda's genuine positive outlook on life made school life so much fun.  Her advisory role in SIFE and her competitive streak helped so many college students get ready for life after college.  Our presentation skills are top notch!  She encouraged so many of us to network, take risks, and believe in ourselves!  As a student worker I noticed how Melinda was working with staff to transform the Retail department to the amazing program it is today.  SIFE won many awards and trophies under her advisory role. I remember even being a CreditWise Cat and teaching other students financial literacy with her encouragement in another advisory role. I remember her excitement for the first Global Retailing Conference and helping her take on summer camps! The past two years I have become more involved with the FCS Alumni Council and when Melinda is around for events, such as Homecoming, there is always a buzz.  I think for many of us, we are so proud of her and for most of us, she is a Rockstar! Melinda-Thank you for being you! Happy Retirement!

Gain Jue '07

Melinda,
The first time I met you was in San Diego at a March Madness tournament event and I remember you saying how you had THE BEST JOB! Your enthusiasm and love for the University inspired me to get more involved. Years later, I'm thankful for that moment and I couldn't agree with you more. I'm excited and thrilled for your next chapter which will surely be filled with family and adventures.

Jim Davis

Melinda,

I can't thank you enough for giving me the opportunity to interview and then get my first job in development 17 years ago. Your many accomplishments at CALS and the Alumni Association had a huge impact on the university.  We will miss you, but you will always be part of the CALS alumni family. Enjoy your retirement, but please come back for our annual Forbes homecoming!

Kellie Terhune Neely '81

I first met Melinda in her role as Director at the Terry J. Lundgren Center. I was able to watch her lead the very successful and nationally acclaimed Students in Free Enterprise (SIFE) teams. She took them to the Final Four at the national competition for seven consecutive years. In 2008, the SIFE Team was named national champions and she traveled with 12 students to Singapore to represent the USA at the SIFE World Cup. She also helped create the Take Charge Cats (formerly named Credit-Wise Cats), where their mission is to create financially informed youth in Arizona. In 2004, we helped co-found the annual financial literacy competition with the Take Charge Cats and have been supporting this since that time. To this day I will run into her former students who have said she made a major impact in their education, lives and careers. I also had the good fortune to be able to continue working with Melinda in her role as president of the University of Arizona Alumni Association and vice president of Alumni Relations. She has worked tirelessly to develop an active and engaged global alumni community committed to advancing the University of Arizona. Congratulations and Best Wishes Melinda on a very well deserved retirement! We cannot thank you enough for your dedication and commitment to students, alumni, the UArizona and our community. We will miss you and will look forward to staying in touch. All the best to you and Bruce. Bear Down!

Gary Harper '70

Melinda, I had the pleasure of being on the selection committee that recommended you to be the next President of the Alumni Association to the University President. It was one of the best recommendations I have ever made. It was such fun meeting you then and getting to know you over the past number of years. I am so proud of the direction you have taken the Alumni Association. Each year, each day there have been incremental improvements. Your knowledge, desire to improve and most of all your enthusiasm provided the leadership for all the Alumni Association staff to pursue excellence each day. You have done this while having fun along the way.
Andy and I have really enjoyed many fun times with Bruce and you. Travel to Africa, all the away games, Alumni Board activities, Alumni events, etc. We look forward to many more fun times in the years ahead. You have earned your next assignments; doing what you want, when you want to do it. All the best in the future.
Bear Down and Go Cats!

Melissa Curran 

I met Melinda when she was in the Norton School (and when I was a new Assistant Professor). I remember thinking that Melinda seemed very smart, very well-connected, and was an exceptional dresser. I as impressed! When Melinda told us that she was thinking about leaving the Norton School for her current position, I remember thinking that she would of course be great in this role and that they were lucky to have her! Thanks for all your awesomeness, Melinda; you are inspiring!

Cortez Smith '96 '99

I have SO MANY fond memories of Melinda. We've shared many laughs, heart-felt discussions, and some exciting sports moments during my tenor on the Alumni Association Governing Board. It has been an honor and a blessing to work with you and to get to know you personally. I can remember your first Governing Board meeting. You were so nervous!  You later shared with me (over a beer at Gentle Ben's) how this position was new to you, but the role really felt right. No question it was the right role for you! All the best with the next chapter of your life and please keep in touch!

Lynn Engel '76

I can remember clear as day the first time Melinda and I connected and I knew she was going to be a gift leading the UAAA.  I was Chair Elect to the UAAA National Board.  Melinda had just been hired.  It was August 2011 and the Executive Committee and UAAA Staff Liaisons were headed to Flagstaff for a weekend Strategic Planning Retreat.  I was picked up by the staff at Sky Harbor and we headed North.  Jill Hall was driving and Fabian Cordova, Sarah Beaudry and Nancy Yaeli and Melinda were in the SUV.  Not one to be shy I proceeded to well let it "rip" about all my thoughts about the Board the direction it was going, etc.  I remember her mouth being wide open thinking OMG who is this person that is Chair Elect.  It was a tremendous weekend hosted by Chair Billy Chavira and included Gary Harper, past Chair.  That weekend began a wonderful friendship and continues to this day.  I remember thinking my father "Swede" Johnson is thrilled from above knowing Melinda Burke is leading the UAAA.  She checked all the boxes - a great leader, mentor, representative of the U of A, engaging, strategic, a "people" person who loved her University!  The Stella and Swede Johnson Endowment exists because of Melinda's vision.  Melinda may be retiring and yet she will always be an integral part of the UAAA.  A toast to my friend Melinda!  Thank you for your many gifts both professionally and personally.  The University of Arizona Alumni Association shines because of YOU!

Fernanda Bueno '16 '18

You are a great inspiration to many alumni like myself. I had the opportunity to witness your dedication to the University and its students first hand. Your involvement through campus has been highly noticeable. I will always remember the time you went to an ASUA diversity and inclusion event that I led at the time as a student director. Seeing you sitting down among the crowd surprised me. Not because it was rare to see you at events, but because you went to the event and became one of the students. Your support throughout the years has had a positive impact on my pride as a Wildcat, always encouraging me to be an advocate for this University. I want you to know that I will always represent this school and every opportunity it has brought me highly. Thank you for all the years you invested into the lives of many students like myself, you are truly an inspiration.

Paulina Bueno '16 '18

I met Melinda back in 2011, I was a freshman at U of A and I had just joined Student Alumni Ambassadors (SAA). I remember Melinda supported the club very much, and I greatly appreciate that. From joining some club meetings on Wednesdays or attending an alumni event and seeing her represent the U of A with such pride, was great to see. Fast forward to 2020, I graduated and live in LA, but it’s always great to go back for homecoming and see her take the stage during the bonfire is always a fun memory I have. I hope to continue to see you, Melinda, at alumni events!

Wildcat Jane '68

Once upon a time at a Summer Send-Off for the Seattle SeaCats a tall, stunning lady approached me and said something like ”I was told you would be the perfect candidate to showcase our new alumni “A” pin. That lady then put that pin on me and I strutted around all afternoon like queen-for-a-day showing the pin to the incoming freshmen and their parents! I was then told that person was none other than Melinda Burke, the Grand Poo-Bah of the U of A Alumni Association. That was how we met.

Over the next few years we had other fun encounters in Seattle such as the ill-fated (due to Seattle’s famous weather) non-boat ride to a UW vs. U of A basketball game. Next was the fantastic pre-game feast at Ivar’s on Lake Union with a successful boat ride to the UW vs. U of A football game . . . in spite of the trouncing we took!

Melinda’s enthusiasm about the U of A encouraged me to sign-up for my first Alumni Conference. Now they can’t get rid of me! Those conferences were the start of some great friendships, making me understand that the U of A Alumni Association is a family. Hence it was a big factor in my choice to leave Seattle two years ago and move to Tucson — for my forever family and home.

I will miss Melinda and “Big Daddy”, but hopefully they will occasionally find time for little old me! I wish them well in retirement and know they can now spend more time enjoying their beautiful family!

I will always think fondly of you, Melinda, and thank you for your friendship and passion for the U of A which has rubbed off on me! Bear Down and Go Cats! Love from Wildcat Jane

Lisa Barrett

I remember when Dawn transferred me to talk to you on the phone (October of 2013) about the administrative assistant position.  I felt so good about our conversation and was so excited when you called me with an offer.  The forward thinking, innovative leader that you are made me so excited to work at the UAAA.  Thank you and please know that you will be missed, but I know you are a Wildcat for Life and so am I!  Happy retirement!

Jenny Carrillo

Thank you Melinda for trusting me to work with the UAAA over the past few years.  I have enjoyed working with you and your team.  I have great respect for your leadership, especially through difficult situations and transitions.  I'm so glad that we have reconnected through WATT.  Best wishes to you as you start this next chapter of your life!

Lisa Harter '83

I will always remember Melinda for her tremendous leadership, calm and focused, helping us to understand the needs of the university and how alumni can help. I appreciate so much that she always made me feel valued as a governing board member. I celebrate all she has brought to alumni relations, not only to the UArizona, but setting an example for other universities to model. I'm grateful to have had the opportunity to serve under her leadership and wish her a wonderful and restful retirement! Thank you Melinda!!

Alan Stein '72

I have known Melinda to be a tireless advocate for the university and its alumni, to be a superb leader and manager, and most important of all, a good friend and wonderful person. I knew she was intense, but I had no idea just how competitive she could be. On a recent UAAA Travel trip to the Galapagos, the day's itinerary took us on a steep hike up to the rim of an active volcano. The day was hot and the path was steep. Shortly after the hike started, Melinda and I found ourselves ahead of the rest of the group, even ahead of the tour guides. I noticed that if I stopped for a water break, Melinda would charge ahead of me. She noticed that if she stopped for water, I'd take the lead. Before too long, the rest of the group was nowhere to be seen. Clearly we were both hot and thirsty but  neither willing to stop. Lucky for both of us, the tour guide caught up with us to asked us to hold up for the rest of the group. We looked at each other and had the same thought: "Thank God". My conclusion: if you're in front of Melinda when she has a destination, you'd better go at her pace or you'll end up with a footprint in the middle of your back! I love you Melinda. Words can't express my gratitude and admiration. Thanks for everything!

Tina Johnson '97

One of my favorite memories of Melinda was at one of the many events that we attended. It was fun to be on the dance floor with Melinda and Bruce having a great time. I did not know her nickname was twinkle toes! Melinda, I hope that you continue dancing for many, many years as you enjoy your retirement.

Felicia

Far too many memories to list here.  One of my faves is you pregnant with Heather when we worked for Goldwater's.  She was just a little basketball in front of you!  You and I driving to Phoenix with Soyeon who drove 95 mph while looking sideways at us and chatting!!  The joy we shared when Juan became an American citizen. Your Rice Krispy treats.  Laughing with Maria at Neiman Marcus. Our first summer in McClelland Park watching an incoming thunder storm on your balcony and almost being hit by lightning. Kim's sense of humor that kept us going even when times were tough.  All of the joy our former students continue to share with us.  You have truly been a gift to me and I thank you.  Enjoy this next journey....send postcards.

Gilbert Davidson '98

Melinda has served the University of Arizona with honor and distinction.  She has tirelessly represented the Alumni Association by giving a voice to the nearly 290,000 alumni living around the world.  It has been a privilege to work with Melinda in outstanding service to this great university. 

As a former member of the governing board and past chair, I witnessed firsthand Melinda’s commitment and love for the U of A.  If there was a group of U of A alumni gathered somewhere, Melinda was probably there sharing the good news about it.  She traveled the globe in pursuit of meeting alumni and serving as an ambassador of the university. 

Melinda, thank you for your service, commitment, and friendship.  We tackled any number of challenges during my time on the board, and I am grateful for the opportunity to serve with you.  You have touched a lot of lives in a positive way through the programs and services you advanced on behalf of the university.  You have been a friend to me and so many others.  You have earned this career milestone!

Jane Rojas '79 '82

Melinda Burke is one of absolute favorite people alive today! She is not only hard working and brilliant, but she is beautiful and fun. Her ability to see the big picture, put together all of the pieces, and work diligently to make it all come to fruition is truly amazing. She has been a terrific mentor to me in my relationship with the University and Norton School. We have worked together on many different projects over many different years.  This has been incredibly helpful to me personally and professionally and it has brought me great joy.  She has been a big supporter of me in my career as a financial advisor over the last 20 years as a friend, client, and advocate.  She even appeared on a surprise video and award I received from my company in 2006 (which I still have today) with a wonderful series of compliments.  I so enjoy her whole family: Bruce and the girls.  They are a testament to her dedication to them in addition to her work with the University over the last few decades.

Wink Williams '82

Melinda,
Congratulations! Thank you so much for your tremendous support during my time on the Orange County Board. I wish you and Bruce nothing but the best in the next chapter of your lives.
Wink

Darcy Dixon '76

Ahhh youth!  Melinda and I met as undergraduates in the early 1970’s, and we were on similar paths, taking “Home Ec.” classes and we both ended up working in retail management after graduation.  Fast forward about 4 years, I was becoming increasingly dissatisfied with retail and wanted to work at something more community oriented.  One day, I bumped into Melinda at the mall where we both worked and I was telling her my woes.  She had no idea how that brief conversation changed the trajectory of my life in so many good ways!  Melinda suggested I look into UA Cooperative Extension and that I should talk to Burl Bert about my interests.  I followed her suggestion and ended up getting a position with UA Cooperative Extension in Casa Grande, where I met my husband, started a family, bought a home, etc.  I worked for 35+ years in Pinal and Santa Cruz Counties, and retired at the end of January 2019!  Melinda, thank you for pointing me in a happy direction!!

Charlotte Harris '65 '67

Melinda you have been such an inspiration to the students, alums, faculty and staff that you have worked with at the U of A.  You have touched their lives in such a most special way with your enthusiasm, knowledge and sincerity in all that you have done.  YOU will be missed, but I am excited for you with your retirement as I know you will continue to enrich yourself and the lives around you.  Go CATS and stay strong!!!

Sarah Fox '09

I can still remember the moment when the 2008-2009 SIFE team was crowned national champions. That was such a wonderful experience and I cannot thank you enough for your support and leadership throughout the experience. You helped our team rise to the top and really capture what the judges were looking for in a winning team. I also have very fond memories of the Duel in the Dumpster and the NRF challenge in NYC. Those experiences helped me realize my potential, and you helped me see that by encouraging me to step outside my comfort zone and go for it. You are truly an amazing leader and educator, and you have made a difference in my life, as you have in many others. I wish you a wonderful retirement that is full of fun, adventure, and relaxation!

Ellen Goldsberry '64

Melinda: 
Here’s wishing you a great retirement ahead. 
Let me first share a bit of advice I received when I retired in 2003 from the UA, from Dr. Amy Jean Knorr, (whom you know). 
“Don’t put off anything on your “TO DO LIST” that you can get scheduled and that your health allows….as time keeps marching on.”  I’m certain you still have a long list…so just make plans to enjoy sooner than later!!!
You are a true “Wildcat”…having graduated from the UA, having served as a faculty member in the Norton School of Family & Consumer Sciences, and, more recently, serving as President of the UA Alumni Association.  Your roles were actually rather similar in many ways….you have seriously touched so many “UA Wildcat” students and set them on a solid tract for professional success and responsibility.  Also, your strong leadership abilities and your sincere personal interest in students becoming productive successful citizens have allowed you to gain the respect of colleagues and students alike.
Having, also had considerable retail experience before joining the faculty provided an important dimension to your classroom teaching and with working with the development of the  Southwest Retail Center in the mid-1990’s (without a model to guide us)…later to be known as the Terry J. Lundgren Retail Center.  As the Center’s Assistant Director you assisted in identifying & encouraging corporate retailers to partner with and support the Center’s goals of providing opportunities for direct student interaction with retail leaders in retail settings, skills in professional leadership, business communications, & retail operations, not available through regular classroom learning, thus, also building our internship placement base. 
You assisted with the Center’s Student Advisory Board members who had responsibilities to corporate partners, etc. all while you were organizing the competitive and extremely successful Student’s In Free Enterprise local, regional, national and international competitions. “You wore many hats.!!!” Upon my retirement you were my choice to become Center Director, and were very successful!!!  Then your current position opened and you grabbed the opportunity to successfully spread the “Wildcat” fever among UA graduates everywhere through the Alumni Association.
A VERY SUCCESSFUL CAREER IN TOTAL! You should be very proud of all your accomplishments.  Cherish all the memories, experiences and people you have influenced. I, too, am very pleased to have had the opportunity to work with you. 

David & Dede Areghini '64

You have been a great representative of the university. Your class, energy, and personality have enhanced the university and the alumni association. It has been a pleasure to be a small part of your administration and we wish you the best in your retirement.

Robert Lanza

Melinda was a key part of brining me to my current department ---- and 15 years later I am still here.  I learned a lot from her, working with her on a number of different projects and initiatives, and always felt that she was a trusted colleague.  I am so happy for her that the she has had the career that she is going out the way she is.  Best of luck, and don't be a stranger at the Norton School!

Don Powell '69 '72

Upon meeting Melinda for the first time, it was readily apparent she was U of A through and through. Each time I have seen Melinda since, she has consistently been positive, spirited, friendly and inclusive to all, and the absolute best ambassador for the U of A. Her retirement is a significant loss to the U of A; however, and most importantly, every person who knows Melinda is thrilled for her as she begins this new life's journey.

Beth Martin '71

Melinda,
You have had a long and fruitful career.  All those years in FCS and now at the Alumni Association.  You planted the seeds at FSC and look how it has taken off---you did it ---no one else.  The work that you have done at the Alumni Association is outstanding.  You brought it out of the office and onto the campus and the communities.  Thank you so much for going on all the basketball trips that we could attend. It makes all the difference in the world to see a friendly face and one that is truly interested in you on these trips and also seeing you at the games in McKale.  You made the Alumni Association viable and exciting.  I cannot imagine you not being no longer connected to the U of A  but it is time to  enjoy yourself and your family.  Do the things on your bucket list.  My best wishes for a wonderful retirement.

Rocky LaRose '79

Congratulations Melinda! And thank you for your leadership, dedication, and love for the University of Arizona and Wildcat alumni! Your style and great care made for so many wonderful memories when athletics and the alumni association came together! ...Just remembering so many events of victories, travel and camaraderie! Thank you Melinda for making it all happen. Here's to a happy, healthy and long retirement. Bear Down!

Beth Stern '90

I will always be thankful for your support and guidance. You were my first boss in retail while I was a freshman at UArizona. It would be impossible to count all the ways that you have helped me in my career. Thank you for being an outstanding leader and for seeing the potential in me. You always gave me the motivation I needed. You inspired me to go places and believe in myself. You brought me back to campus as a mentor passing skills to the next generation of fashion students. You have incredible clarity with no question of vision and what needs to be accomplished. Most of all thank you for being you!

Andy Harris '87

We are so very grateful for all Melinda has done for the university and the alumni association!  Melinda as made an extraordinary impact in so many ways and leaves a wonderful legacy! We wish Melinda and Bruce the very best and look forward to sharing many good times together!  Bear Down and Go Cats!  - Stephanie and Andy Harris

Janis Gallego '02 '05, Meighan Burke '03, Carolyn Meyer '07

At the very first Wildcat For Life Leadership Council, you introduced us and suggested we connect. Thanks to that introduction we are now lifelong friends and forever grateful for that. You have been a true example of leadership, the Wildcat spirit and always know how to stylishly sport the Red and Blue.

Bob Shaff '66

Melinda, the Tahiti voyage, Weather in your Backyard with Erin, and dozens of Arizona Alumni events, coupled with your sparkling personality and visionary leadership are highlights of our many times together as you led the Arizona Alumni Association.

Bob and Lynda Shaff

Travis Chester '93

Congratulations, Melinda! I greatly appreciate your leadership and being included in the team. It's been great working with you, but even better was pranking with you! The way you and Chris turned that picture of Wally around in record time was world class! Enjoy retirement and all the best!

Kay McLoughlin '67

Congratulations, Melinda!  We go way back, JLT forward!  Enjoy retirement as much as we have enjoyed working with you!  

Lacey John '09


I have always admired your ability to speak and act with grace and strength. (As well as your fashion sense! No one can pull together the red and blue like you!). I feel so grateful to have been able to work with your team the past few months, and I look forward to my future here in Alumni Engagement. Your creative vision has left a strong foundation for us to continue to built new opportunities, and I know that I will continue to seek your guidance as we move forward. Thank for all you have done, and I hope you enjoy some much needed time with family and friends. Bear Down For Life!

Dana Campbell '81

Congratulations on a decade of great Alumni Association leadership and best wishes on a new chapter in life. When we first met on that hot afternoon in Houston (following perhaps the worst football game in the 40 plus years I have been a die-hard Wildcat fan), I had no idea what an important role the governing board of the Alumni Association played in the life of the University. Thank you for all you have done to ensure that the collective voice of diverse alumni volunteers is (and will continue to be) heard at the University. Also, thank you for your leadership in the development of the Alumni Career Lab, which provides professional and career development opportunities unlike anything we could have imagined as students. Finally, thank you for your leadership in the launch of the Bear Down Network, which will support alumni of the University in ways we have yet to imagine.
While we will miss your leadership at upcoming meetings of the governing board, I am confident that the Wildcat Mentor Society and other alumni engagement activities will allow us to stay connected for years to come.

Janice Shelton '71 '77

It has been a joy and privilege to know and work with you from your years at the Norton School to your wonderful leadership at the Alumni Association. No matter the task or challenge, you always faced it with enthusiasm and integrity. Thank you for who you are and all you have done for the University of Arizona, CALS, and the Norton School.  You have left a remarkable legacy that you should be extremely proud of.  My wishes for you as you enter the retirement chapter of your life are:
*     Take time to smell the roses and your family.
*     Fill your time with what brings you joy and fulfillment.
*     Attack your bucket list with vigor!
*     Continue to relish your "Wildcat for Life" status and the connections you have made.
*     Do all you can to stay healthy!
You are going to be mised but you have more than earned an enchanting retirement.

Welcome to the next chapter of life's journey!
Bear Down and my best to you always.

Larry N. Deutsch '63

Melinda is the hardest working person at the UA. She also has only a Red and Blue wardrobe (although she may have a few other colors well hidden for the few times when she is not representing the UA). As a member of the Wildcat Leadership Council, for three years, I saw only hard work, enormous energy and smiles radiating from Melinda. Is there no way to lure her back for a few more years? Beg Bruce to ask her!

Andy Harper

Congratulations on your retirement from UA Alumni Association. You have had such an impact on so many people, and you will be missed. We look forward to seeing you at future events in a more casual role!

Alison Althof '13

You are such an inspiration. Your wildcat for life persona is infectious. You are such a great leader, motivator, and business women. I am blessed to have work along side you & the Alumni Association. I wish you the comfortable retirement that you deserve!
~ Alison Althof

Marc Acuña '05

Thank you for your dedicated time and effort in making the UAAA a place for all our alumni and including me in your grand vision. I will miss our trips, selfies and all our time together! 

Lanh Truong '19

Thank you for everything that you've accomplished so far. I will miss you <3

Ricky Hernandez '02

When I was considered recent alumnus and a leadership role within the Hispanic Alumni Club was thrust upon me, the first person to really inspire belief and support in my ability to step-up to the challenge was Melinda Burke. After spending many years in a very different role , I become the UAAA's Chief Operating Officer. The person who was most excited about me joining the team was Melinda Burke. I had a great experience as an student at the University, but I've had a more incredible alumni experience at my alma mater because of Melinda Burke. For this and so much more -- THANK YOU!

Kristen Fought 

In coming to work for the Alumni Association, Melinda's candid and inclusive leadership style was a refreshing change for me. Her honesty, integrity, loyalty and passion and enthusiasm for this University and the Alumni community have been motivating to say the least. I appreciate the amount of effort and care she took to make sure her team was always taken care of. Melinda is a charismatic class act and will be greatly missed. 

Kimberly Jewell Peris '10

Thank you so much for being an incredible mentor during my tenure as a student at the University of Arizona and as an Alumni.  I have loved having the opportunity to work with you in multiple capacities.  From my undergraduate experience, to Wildcat for Life Leadership Council, to meeting up with you across the country for alumni events - it has been a blast!  There is no one who loves this university and connecting with people more than you.  You have made an incredible impact on my life and the life of many others.  It would be impossible to count all of the ways that you have helped me as a student and as a professional.  I will always be grateful for your support and friendship.  Wishing you the best of luck in your next endeavours.  Thank you for serving the university so passionately - you have made a profound impact on The University of Arizona.  

Shelley Huff '05

Melinda made a lasting impact on my life as a mentor and coach to me in many phases of my life.  Through her guidance she gave me confidence to pursue leadership roles in college clubs, shaped me into a professional by example, and helped me earn my internship ending up leading to my first job.  Melinda had high expectations and maximized the potential of every student she touched.  She is an absolute champion and at the end of her amazing career at Arizona, I know she will never be finishing leaving her 'paw print' on the lives of others through outreach and philanthropy.  Congratulations to Melinda and her amazing family!

Joey Huerta '99

Thank for all you have done for the University and especially for me!  I know there is no way I would have not reached the success I have in my career if I had never met you. You have truly been a blessing in my life.  Thank you and congratulations!

Whitney Wilkening-Daube '08

I am grateful to Melinda for our partnership with the U of A Couture pins. Congrats on an absolutely amazing career!!! Wishing you all the very best in retirement!!!

Brandon Wilson '06

Melinda - Thank you so much for all that you have given to the University and it's students. The 'realness' you brought to the classroom from your professional experiences along with your ability to connect with people is truly remarkable.   I tell the story often but without you stopping me in the hallway telling me that Walmart might be a great fit for me changed my life forever!  Thank you again for all of the wonderful things you've given.

Denise Shorbe '02

Congratulations, Melinda! It has been a privilege to work under your leadership. I look forward to hearing about your adventures and projects. I wish you all the best!

Patricia Walker '05

Melinda, you inspired me to find my potential and my passion. Thank you for guiding me to utilize all of the extracurriculars offered at the Center for Retailing, expanding my networking and cultivating the best experiences to turn me into a leader. I came to the program without a plan and graduated with a career path and the critical soft skills needed to achieve my goals. You changed my life and I am forever grateful. Thank you for choosing a career of service and touching so many lives.

Sarah Beaudry

Thank you, Melinda, for the many lessons in leadership and the opportunities you have provided for all of us at the Alumni Association to grow as leaders. I have learned so much from you. I appreciate your commitment to excellence, your creativity and your amazing gift for public speaking and on-air panache! Thank you for leading the Alumni Association through the best of times and during challenging opportunities. I wish you much happiness, adventure and peace in your retirement. Congratulations!

Megan O'Leary '02

Melinda helped get me reconnected to the UA through the Wildcat for Life Leadership Council, and also helped me find my way back to campus as an employee. I am grateful! Thank you Melinda for all of the love and care you have shown and given to the UA community through your roles as student, teacher, and leader. Congratulations on your retirement, you will be missed! 

Heather Lukach

Melinda! Thank you for always being a supportive and positive Wildcat! I will miss your warm and welcoming presence and your willingness to always get the job done. I wish you all the best in the future. Bear Down, -Heather 

Claudia Davila '96

Thank you Melinda for all your work and dedication to keep the Wildcat Pride energy constant and lasting in our community and everywhere Wildcats thrive.   Your energy and spirit will be missed. Congratulations on your new journey.


 

Debbie Buenger

Dear Melinda, thank you for the kindness and support you have provided to me and the office of Presidential Events over the past nine years.  It has been an absolute joy spending time with you whenever and wherever possible.  I have especially enjoyed the fun times spent in the skybox cheering with wildcat fans. Regardless of wins or a losses, your enthusiasm and the joy of community togetherness was felt by everyone in your presents.  You will be missed and a tough class-act to follow.  Wishing you and Bruce good health and happy trails ahead.

Liesl Folks

Melinda - I am so sad that you are leaving your leadership role, as I have greatly enjoyed working with you for this past year!  That said, I wish you nothing but joy in your retirement, and I hope that we will see you often at University of Arizona events (once we can have real events again!).  With best wishes, Liesl

Jack Barnes '97

Melinda was instrumental in how my career started. Today I'm not in retail, though one never knows where the road will take you, but it was Melinda's urging that got me to take that internship at Wal-Mart. That changed the entire landscape of my career. I would have never enjoyed the success and rewards of working at Wal-Mart in Arkansas. I would have never enjoyed the professional success nor would I have met my wife and had my family. Were it not for Wal-Mart I never would have had the opportunity to go to Dicks Sporting Goods and then play a critical role in developing Field & Stream. Melinda's influence on my very early decisions shaped the landscape of my life. I congratulate her on the amazing things she's done at the UA and on an awesome career. Richly deserved. She's touched many lives.

Kasey Urquidez '94 '01

Melinda, you are the UAAA to me. I will miss working with you (and traveling with you!) very much! Thank you for your spirit, energy, focus and collaboration. Best wishes for a wonderful retirement of fun and love!
"Some memories are unforgettable, remaining ever vivid and heartwarming!" — Joseph B. Wirthlin

John Paul Jones III

The College of SBS will miss Melinda's energy and enthusiasm for all of UA's alumni, as well as her collaborative spirit and dedication to excellence in service.  We will also miss her unparalleled Wildcat wardrobe!  Of lasting importance to SBS and the University of Arizona was her crucial support in helping us launch the Washington, D.C.-based National Institute for Civil Discourse at a critical time in our country. Good luck to you and Bruce in whatever you take on next!  

Jill Hall '88

The daily Facebook memories that pop up of my time working with Melinda will always make me smile - you can pack a lot of fun into six years!!!  I can't even begin to count the number of alumni that Melinda interacted with during that time and each one will always be special to her.  Thank you Melinda for taking the job all those years ago. I still remember when you walked in to meet us - we were all so nervous and you were dressed to perfection! Enjoy the time you now get to spend with Bruce, the girls and the grand babies!!! #BearDownGoCats

Habib Azizz Pierce-Byrd '97 '01 '02  

Mrs. Burke is a Wildcat through and through. I first met her when I became a board member of the East Valley Cats. 

We are planning an in-person event to celebrate the career of Melinda Burke. It will take place at a time scheduled after in-person events resume at the University of Arizona. Please let us know you are interested in attending by submitting your RSVP.