Coleman P. Burke, a 1970 Case Western Reserve University law alumnus, was so dedicated to the planet that he committed $10 million to launch the Coleman P. Burke Center for Environmental Law. His gift—the largest in the school's history—has enabled us to expand our environmental programs and serve students with a deep interest in environmental law. Burke passed away in 2020 at his home in New York.
Burke spent 40 years engaged in environmental issues as a director of the National Audubon Society, the National Forest Foundation, the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, the Yale Peabody Museum of Natural History, the New York Botanical Garden and the Wildlife Conservation Society. Burke also was a member of the Leadership Council of the Yale School of Forestry & Environmental Studies. He also developed a passion for paleontology. As a member of the international multidisciplinary society, the Explorers Club, he led two expeditions for dinosaur fossils in the Santa Cruz Province in Argentina and explored rivers in Tierra del Fuego.
Burke was the founder and managing partner of Waterfront NY, Bulgroup Properties and North River Company, commercial real estate companies with holdings in New York, Maine, Massachusetts, Colorado, New Hampshire, Pennsylvania, California and Vermont. Before establishing Waterfront, Burke was a partner at the law firm of Burke & Burke for 13 years. He also created the Coleman and Susan Burke Foundation, named after him and his wife of nearly four decades.