Remembering Dean A.R. Burkot
The Fall 2013 cover story on former professor, dean and provost Alexander Roman Burkot garnered a lot of response from his family, friends and the former students who knew Campbell’s “Renaissance Man” best.
Getting to know my brother better
Words cannot adequately express my gratitude for the wonderful piece you put together in tribute to my brother, Alexander Roman Burkot. As a result of reading your editorial introduction and “Burkot: Renaissance Man,” my heart just beams with pride.
When a person is gone from this earth for almost 30 years, it is rare that he's even remembered, let alone have such accolades showered upon his memory.
I don't doubt for a minute that Alex was loyal to Campbell and gave his best to the institution and its students and the best of every part of himself, and that your words of praise are very fitting.
My brother was 19 years older than me and was already away from home when I was just a baby.
I knew he was my brother, but I didn't really get to know him — I had about five meaningful conversations with him in my entire life. Your article filled in missing information, and I truly appreciate that.
God bless you.
Sister Doris Burkot
A pleasure knowing entire Burkot family
Congratulations on a great fall edition. I had the pleasure of knowing several members of the Burkot family when I was at Campbell. I think Dean Burkot knew my name the second time I met him. He was a brilliant man.
I don't think, however, you sufficiently mentioned his wife, Mrs. Velma Burkot, who ran the college laundry, best I remember. Just about every student knew and appreciated Mrs. Burkot and the work she did.
I knew their children, Jerry and Betty, well during the early 1960s. I am sure they had a lot of pressure with Dean Burkot as the dean and father. It was really good seeing Jerry at the 50th-year reunion in 2013. We all had a lot of fun reminiscing about the “good old days” in the Creek.
Thanks for bringing back really good memories, and thanks for Jerry's comments in the article.
Paul Garrison (’65)
President Wake County Alumni Chapter
Grandfather was a big influence on my life
Thank you for the wonderful, touching story honoring my grandfather, Dr. A.R. Burkot.
The mere sight of his trademark black glasses on the first page tugged at my heartstrings. It was a genuine treat to pore over my mother's copy of Campbell Magazine at Christmas. An unexpected gift under the tree, I was so excited that his life was being honored in something tangible — something I could read and hold in my hands and go back over at my heart's content.
Emotions rose in me upon seeing the variety of photos of him, bringing a flood of old memories. Because of your story, I not only relived many impressions of my grandfather, but I also enjoyed some enlightening details about him of which I was previously unaware. It just reinforced even more that he was an amazing and important figure not only in my life, but in countless lives.
To this day, he is the reason that I hold myself to certain levels of success. He influenced me to be the perfectionist who never settles for mediocrity. His incredible ear for languages sparked my imagination as a young girl to travel in my mind to those places he spoke from. Ultimately, this cultivated an innate curiosity that drove me to become a traveller. Consequently, I have moved 54 times and visited 49 U.S. states and 25 countries, and I am not intending on slowing down any time soon.
So, I thank you again for your dedication to crystallizing my grandfather's unique talents and indelible mark made not only on Campbell College, but on the precious community of Buies Creek.
Dr. A.R. Burkot was truly a “giant” by many standards and will remain so, in our memories.
Sharon Kimberly Cravens
Adding praise to Burkot’s legacy
I enjoyed your article on Mr. Burkot and certainly agreed with all that was said of him. I compliment you on your choice of all the articles in the magazine, with special regard for featuring Mr. Burkot.
I was fortunate to have several conversations with Mr. Burkot, personally, as well as academically related. In addition, I took his class (I believe at the time it was called “Root Words”), one of the most enlightening courses of my academic career — not so much owing to the course material, rather to the conduct of the course by Mr. Burkot.
I joined Campbell in 1960, at age 27, after some wonderful professors helped me to clean up my lacking high school academic record. I completed my freshman and sophomore years at Campbell, then transferred to American University in 1963.
After one semester at American, I discovered the living expenses in Washington, D.C. — the cost of the school, plus having to work to pay my way through school and support my family — meant there was not enough time left for academic pursuits. I returned to Campbell a few weeks before registration for the fall semester in 1963. Mr. Tunstall hired me back as student photographer, and life was good.
One day after strolling through the campus, I was sitting in front of one of the buildings, enjoying the beauty of the surroundings, as I am sure most students do from time to time. Mr. Burkot walked by and said, “Hi John, I thought you had left us for American U.”
I was quite surprised by his memory of his students. I related to him what had happened over the last year and concluded with this statement, “I have learned it does not matter what school a person attends; the responsibility to achieve an education lies within the individual. And that it is a lifetime endeavor.”
To that statement, Mr. Burkot said, “I could not agree more.”
I was reminded of this conversation when I read the statement by Mr. Burkot in the Pine Burr to the students of 1956 (Page 20 in the magazine).
Thank you for your time spent reading this letter. My intent is to add my name in praise of Mr. Burkot — a great educator, mentor and friend.
John S. Hutchison Jr. (’66)
Velma Burkot played an important role, too
Your article on Dean Burkot was excellent and brought back a lot of fond memories.
At some point, you may want to print something about his wife Velma. She was in charge of the student laundry during the time I was there, and in those days, all boarding students were “forced” to use this service. I fondly remember how compassionate she was to us guys who did not have a clue about laundering shirts and underwear. She always knew us by name and had a good word when we would pick up our goods.
I also not-so-fondly remember the holes in our undergarments from the large safety pins they used to wash these items. I remember our shirts were starched, ironed and folded on cardboard. We always had that fresh look.
Woodrow W. Hathaway Jr.