The interim senior vice president of University Relations serves on the UA President's Cabinet and is responsible for all activities that promote the UA, especially those that involve the UA and media, government officials, UA friends, supporters, and neighbors. Cohesive efforts between the vice president for University Relations and leaders of the UA Alumni Association, the UA Foundation, and the Arizona Health Sciences Center enable a galvanized effort to advance the UA in the state and beyond.
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. In March 2016, Burke was named Interim Senior Vice President of University Relations where she oversees internal and external communications; marketing; Arizona Public Media; and special events.
As Vice President of Alumni Relations and President of the Alumni Association, 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. She launched the Alumni Career Services and Professional Development Lab to strengthen professional networking and alumni engagement. She also led an expansion of alumni communications through a revisioning of the Arizona Alumni magazine and the integration of digital communications and social media.
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. 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 academic program.
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 daughters and three grandchildren. 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.
Susan Donaldson, Executive Associate to the Senior Vice President