George W. Burke was born Sept. 10, 1917, in Dickerson Run, Pa., and grew up in Strasburg, Va. He graduated from the University of Virginia and received his dentistry degree from the MCV School of Dentistry in 1944. After graduation, Burke joined the Army Dental Corps. When World War II ended, he joined the Army Reserves and remained active until he retired as a lieutenant colonel in 1971. While serving in the reserves, Burke became a faculty member at MCV Hospital, where he taught anatomy and dental histology, and at the School of Dentistry, where he consulted and lectured on numerous dental topics. He retired in 1981 and died on Feb. 13, 1989.
The George W. Burke Fund was established in 1981 by W.M. Feagans, D.D.S., Ph.D., in honor of his friend. The fund gives emergency loans to dental students.
Feagans remembers his colleague as "an inspiring teacher and a true friend who had an enormous impact on my philosophy of education and life. I and many others deeply appreciated his sincerity and compassion for the learning process. He was a master of the Socratic method of learning — always encouraging others to take another viewpoint or argument on an issue. Through him, I have learned one can take sides on an issue and still remain a 'Virginia gentleman.'"