B.U. Bridge
Midnight Breakfast with Dean of Students Kenneth Elmore on Friday, September 10, at 11 p.m. at the GSU Union Court
Week of 3 September 2004 · Vol. VIII, No. 1

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Photo courtesy of BU Photo Services

Photo courtesy of BU Photo Services

Before they were gold. In April 1896, during his second year at BU’s School of Law, Thomas Edmund Burke (LAW’1897) took a six-week leave of absence from his studies to compete in the first Olympic Games of the modern era, in Athens. In a letter to LAW Dean Edmund H. Bennett requesting leave, Burke wrote: “I shall wear the colors of BU in these games, and hope to uphold the reputation of the University.” He did so, winning first place in both the 100- and 400-meter track events at the ancient Panathenaicon stadium. He won no gold, however: Olympic champions that year received instead a silver medal, an olive branch, and sometimes special donated items, such as a silver cup, which Burke appears to be holding, in addition to two scrolls, in this photo. He’s pictured beside a chargé d’affaires of King George I of Greece, before 150,000 spectators in Athens. Burke would go on to practice law in Massachusetts for six years, coach track briefly, and work as a sportswriter for the Boston Journal and the Boston Post, according to Margo Hagopian, an assistant to the dean at LAW, who is writing an as-yet-untitled history of the school. Burke enlisted in the U.S. Army at the outbreak of World War I, at age 43, and died in Boston in 1929.


3 September 2004
Boston University
Office of University Relations