Miner Institute & Burke family honor a legend

Celebration of Life for Dr. Joseph C. Burke will be held Oct. 6 in Chazy


“Joe Burke’s passion for the Miner legacy, together with his wife, Joan, has ensured that William and Alice’s vision for the region will endure,” said Dr. Richard Grant, president of Miner Institute. Dr. Burke passed away at his home in Albany on Aug. 3, 2018.

Dr. Burke’s ties to the North Country include 12 years as president of SUNY Plattsburgh and 30 years serving on the board of the Alice T. Miner Colonial Collection in addition to his work with the Miner Institute. “Except for the Miners themselves, no one has done more. Joe was a monumental leader of both Miner Institute and SUNY Plattsburgh, and by creating the Applied Environmental Science Program, he was able to strengthen both,” Dr. Grant said.


Dr. Burke would count strategic planning as his proudest accomplishment for Miner Institute. “He was so passionate about understanding and ensuring that William Miner’s vision for the Institute endured. He constantly pushed us to consider our mission – research, education, and demonstration – and how we could achieve the next milestone. He was never satisfied with the status quo – no matter how successful it might be. He would ask: ‘What’s next? How can we do a better job of pushing forward Miner’s legacy?’ He constantly encouraged us to keep moving forward,” Dr. Grant said.

On October 9, 2012 Miner Institute formally dedicated its main education building as the Joseph C. Burke Education and Research Center. In remarks he gave at the dedication ceremony, Dr. Burke said “My name on this building really stands for all who have labored for over half a century to make William Miner’s dream a reality.” Dr. Burke said that he was honored to have a Miner Institute building bear his name, but added that it was really about the Spirit of Heart’s Delight Farm and the people who work at Miner Institute. “You’re part of a larger thing that’s gone on and on,” Dr. Burke said. “The trees and the fields are beautiful,” he said of the Institute property. “But they’ve always been there. It’s really the people working together … that makes all the difference in the world.”

Dr. Burke was an unusually involved and engaged chair of the board, spending countless hours walking around the Miner grounds interacting with employees and visitors and was genuinely interested in getting to know the staff and students who were helping to carry out William Miner’s vision. His leadership and insight will be dearly missed but never forgotten.

For more information about the Celebration of Life, please contact Rachel Dutil at 518-846-7121, ext. 115 or dutil@whminer.com.