Community Leader to Serve as Graduate Commencement Speaker

May 16, 2013
 Austin Burke, president of the Greater Scranton Chamber of Commerce, will serve as the principal speaker at The University of Scranton’s 2013 graduate school commencement, which will be held Saturday, May 25, at 10:45 a.m. at the Byron Recreation Complex.

A leader in community development for four decades, Burke has served as president of the Greater Scranton Chamber of Commerce since 1981. He served in Pennsylvania Governor Ed Rendell’s cabinet as secretary for community & economic development.

Under Burke’s stewardship, Scranton’s chamber and its development arms, Lackawanna Industrial Fund Enterprises (LIFE) and Scranton Lackawanna Industrial Building Company (SLIBCO), have been recognized nationally for their sustained responses to a wide range of community needs. SLIBCO and LIFE have reclaimed thousands of acres of mine-scarred land for reuse as industrial, office and technology parks. These development entities have also financed and constructed more than 350 buildings that employ thousands in Scranton and throughout Lackawanna County.

Working with area leaders, Burke has helped develop numerous organizations and programs in response to area needs, including Skills in Scranton, The Great Valley Technology Alliance, MetroAction Inc. Microloans, Leadership Lackawanna and The Scranton Plan. He was an incorporator of Montage Mountain, Inc. and worked to bring the Steamtown National Historic Site to Scranton.

The University awarded Burke an Honorary Doctor of Laws Degree in 1998. He served as a Trustee for the University from 1991 to 1997. He was also the recipient of the 2008 Americanism Award from Amos Lodge 136 of the B’nai B’rith, among other honors. He currently serves on the Commonwealth Financing Authority, Ben Franklin Technology Development Authority, Penn State Research Foundation and Wells Fargo Regional Foundation. He chairs the Lackawanna County Workforce Investment Board and serves on the Moses Taylor Hospital Board. 

A United States Air Force veteran, Burke earned a bachelor’s degree from Dickinson College, Carlisle, where he was elected to Phi Beta Kappa. He earned an associate’s degree from Keystone College, La Plume, and is a graduate of the U. S. Chamber of Commerce Institute for Organization Management.

Burke resides in Archbald with his wife, Marianne.

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