UCIS Remembers Glema Burke

It is with great sadness that the University Center for International Studies announces the death of Glema Burke, a former UCIS administrator. Burke retired in 2006 as UCIS director of management. She was hired by then director Burkart Holzner in 1979 as a finance assistant (after serving in the Graduate School of Public Health for nine years) and moved through UCIS administration as assistant to the director, then assistant director of management and finally director of management.

Burke played a vital role in helping to build UCIS into what it is today. During her tenure, she managed the successful Title VI funding for the Asian Studies Center, the Center for Russian and East European Studies, the Center for Latin American Studies, and the European Studies Center. She also helped establish many of the endowments that UCIS has today including the Malmberg Fellowship, Heinz Fellowship, International Studies Fund, and the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation Fund for International Studies.  She was an integral part of launching the Global Studies Program, now the Global Studies Center, and helped plan the Fifth General Chautauqua Conference on U.S.-Soviet Relations hosted at Pitt in 1989. 

In 1997, Burke was one of the inaugural recipients of the Chancellor’s Award for Staff, which honors Pitt staff who have demonstrated dedication to the University beyond the responsibilities of their jobs.

“Glema was a leader, mentor, and inspiration for anyone who had the pleasure to work with her both at Pitt and in the community,” said Rose Wooten, the current UCIS business manager who worked with Burke over the years. “She managed the day-to-day financial and human resources of this University-wide center during a time when Pitt was still developing study and research abroad and attracting international students, scholars, and faculty to campus.

“One minute she would be working on some high-level policy or grant and the next minute she would be helping a center clean a Posvar Hall suite,” Wooten continued. “She was so knowledgeable and a remarkable resource for anyone who needed help.  She cared deeply about people. Pitt was so fortunate that she chose to spend her career here.”  

Burke’s dedicated service will long remain an important part of the history of UCIS. A memorial service will be held on Saturday, April 13, 2019, 11 a.m., at Covenant Presbyterian Church in Ligonier.