August Member Spotlight
When it comes to showing their Maverick Pride, Dorothy and Michael Burton are a perfect match. The two met at UT Arlington, and said that they want to make the university that is a second home to them feel like home to other alumni.
Alumni Association Member Dorothy Burton ’82,‘89 made UT Arlington a priority after graduation, and has maintained strong connection with the Alumni Association. She was most recently elected to the Alumni Association National Board!
She and her husband have a history of leadership and service on the board. Her husband, Dr. Michael Burton, served on the Alumni Association National Board of Directors from1998-2002 and was the president from 2002-2003.
Dorothy Burton transferred to UT Arlington during her sophomore year, and graduated with a BA in Communications and a MA in Urban Affairs. As a student, she held membership in a sorority, Zeta Phi Beta, Inc. Her husband also attended UT Arlington and graduated with a BS in Microbiology.
She said that she and her husband had a fun experience during Michael’s years of service.
“We enjoyed all of the activities, the wonderful Christmas parties, and the best part I can remember from his time on the board was when he served as board president and got to serve on the search committee that netted us Jim Spaniolo. It was a great time,” Burton said.
Burton said she became interested in holding a position on the National Board of Directors, because she believes in UT Arlington.
“The incredible energy and regeneration of the University under the direction of former President Jim Spaniolo made it something I wanted to be part of. And, moving forward, I want to be part of spreading that message,” Dorothy said.
Burton said that she is at a point in her life where she is comfortable enough to choose where she wants to spend her time.
“The timing couldn’t have been better, and I am thankful that there was an opportunity to serve on the board, because I really wanted to become more active,” she said.
Dorothy and Michael are life members of the association. According to Dorothy, it is important to be active with the Alumni Association because of the opportunity to stay connected, to stay connected, and to spread awareness about a university that played an important role personally, academically, and professionally in the lives of its alumni.
“I believe it’s important to stay involved because it’s important to make space in your life for the institutions and people that helped provide a foundation for your success. I believe in giving back in time, talent, and/or resources to people and places that played pivotal roles in helping me to become the person I am today,” she said.
Burton and her husband are also members of the African-American chapter of the Alumni Association. She received the award for Outstanding African-American Alumni in 2006. Michael received the award in 1996.
“I believe it is vitally important to stay involved with the alumni chapters, because it’s like staying involved and keeping in touch with family. It’s good to get together with like-minded people from shared backgrounds for fun and fellowship. My husband and I have found our involvement invigorating,” Burton said.
According to Dorothy, she and Michael joined the African American chapter to help increase the interest and participation of African-American alumni – particularly those who graduated less recently. She said that many African-American alumni expressed a lack of connection to the university, and she wanted to change that.
“We wanted to work with others in helping to grow the chapter by having functions and get-togethers to re-introduce alumni to UT Arlington, spread the good news of the myriad of ways in which UT Arlington has grown and changed; and also to help current African-American students through scholarships to succeed and have better experiences, so that they will want to come back and serve the university as well,” she said.
Dorothy said that her favorite thing about UT Arlington is its spirit.
“Oh my gosh, it’s like a whole new university! With College Park and all the changes and growth surrounding it, the transformation of the school is nothing short of amazing,” she said.
The biggest change she has observed since her time as a UT Arlington student has been in the overall growth of the university. She said that the school evolved into a more traditional campus compared to the commuter school it had previously been known as.
“It now has that ‘university feel’ that wasn’t here when I was a student here – which is great,” Dorothy said.
Dorothy graduated in May from Dallas Theological Seminary with an MA in Christian Leadership. She said that the MA she earned at UT Arlington in Urban Affairs prepared her for public service, and paired with the discipline and training of seminary, she learned the necessary skills that landed her the role as President and CEO of Christians in Public Service, Inc. Burton credits her success to UT Arlington for setting the foundation necessary to achieve her life goals.