Purdue Renames Boilermaker Aquatic Center for Longtime Athletic Director Morgan Burke

Photo Courtesy: Peter H. Bick

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. – The Boilermaker Aquatic Center has been renamed in honor of Morgan Burke, Purdue University’s longtime vice president and Intercollegiate Athletics director, who also was a former Purdue swimmer and swim team captain.

In a special meeting Friday, the university’s Board of Trustees approved renaming the facility the Morgan J. Burke Boilermaker Aquatic Center. Purdue President Mitch Daniels also presented Burke with the state’s Sagamore of the Wabash Award on behalf of Gov. Eric Holcomb.

“Morgan served with distinction as athletics director for 23 years and is respected nationally for his work at Purdue,” said Tom Spurgeon, trustees vice chair. “This tribute is highly appropriate and completely fitting for someone who has given so much to his alma mater – both as a student-athlete and an administrator.”

Burke served as athletics director from 1993 to 2016. He had the fourth-longest tenure among directors at Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) institutions.

During his tenure, Purdue athletics embarked on construction and renovation projects with an investment of more than a quarter of a billion dollars — all while maintaining its status as a self-supporting auxiliary enterprise that receives no university or state funding and pays the university for its athletes’ scholarships.

Also under his leadership, two teams – women’s basketball and women’s golf – won NCAA championships and eight student-athletes captured a combined 14 individual national crowns. The football team went on a run of 10 bowl games in 12 years (1997-2008), and the men’s basketball team won a string of Big Ten regular-season championships in 1994, 1995 and 1996.

Boilermaker student-athletes also performed in the classroom. Following the 2016 spring semester, the cumulative GPA for all current Purdue student-athletes was a record 3.10; it was above 3.0 for the final 15 semesters of his tenure.

Burke is a 1973 industrial management graduate, a member of Phi Beta Kappa scholastic honorary and was captain of the swimming team his senior year. He earned a master’s degree in industrial relations from Purdue in 1975 and a law degree from John Marshall Law School in Chicago in 1980. Before returning to Purdue as athletics director, he had an 18-year career with Inland Steel Co.

Burke is past president of the Division 1A Athletic Directors Association and served on the NCAA Leadership Council, several Big Ten boards and NCAA working groups. In 2010 he was honored as the Football Bowl Subdivision Central Region Under Armour Athletics Director of the Year by the National Association of Collegiate Directors of Athletics.

The $17 million Boilermaker Aquatic Center opened in fall 2001, and was completely funded with gift funds from alumni and friends of the university. Featuring the Doris Z. Holloway Pool, the facility has played host to multiple championship events, including the 2005 and 2010 NCAA Women’s Championships and 2006 U.S. Open, plus six Big Ten Championships and five NCAA Diving Zones.

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