Knox Remembers Richard and Dorothy Johnson Burkhardt

March 10, 2014

Richard and Dorothy Burkhardt

"Richard and Dorothy Burkhardt believed in the power of a transformational educational experience, and together they became the second largest donors to Knox during their lifetime," said Knox College President Teresa Amott. "Knox is a stronger institution because of their generous support, and their legacy will be felt by generations of Knox students and faculty."

Knox is remembering the two distinguished alumni who passed away recently, whose support for the College has enabled the creation of endowed faculty positions, funds for faculty research and visiting lectureships, and advances in educational technology on campus.

Richard W. Burkhardt '39 and an Alumni Achievement Award winner, died March 4 in Muncie Indiana, at the age of 95. His wife, Dorothy Johnson Burkhardt '39 and a Life Trustee of the College, died January 24, 2014 in Muncie at the age of 96.

Richard's association with Knox College began even before he enrolled. At the time he started in 1935, Mr. Burkhardt's uncle, Albert Britt, Knox Class of 1898, was president of the College. Following graduation from Knox, Richard received master's and doctoral degrees from Harvard University. From 1952 until his retirement in 1985, he was an administrator and member of the history faculty at Ball State University in Muncie, including one year, 1978-79, serving as acting president. Knox College honored him with an Alumni Achievement Award in 1974.

Classmates at Knox, Richard and Dorothy were married in 1941. She taught French, Spanish and Russian at Ball State for 27 years, and in 2002 was awarded the Palmes Academiques by the French government for her promotion of cross-cultural learning between France and the United States.

The Burkhardts supported the work of Knox faculty through two professorships: the Burkhardt Distinguished Chair in Modern Languages and the Burkhardt Distinguished Chair in History.

They established two funds to support faculty development and research in history and modern languages at Knox, and campus lectures by scholars from Knox and other colleges. The Joseph and Clara H. E. Johnson Fund for Modern Languages was named in honor of Mrs. Burkhardt's parents, and the Edgar S. and Ruth W. Burkhardt Fund for History was named in honor of Mr. Burkhardt's parents.

Gifts from the Burkhardts also created the Dorothy Johnson Burkhardt and Richard Burkhardt Laboratory for the Modern Languages at Knox, designed specifically for small groups of students to work on multi-media projects and engage in active, collaborative learning.