Alumnus named David B. Falk Distinguished Professor

June 30, 2009

Alumnus Rick Burton named David B. Falk Distinguished Professor of Sport Management

Monday, June 22, 2009

International sports marketing executive and educator Rick Burton ’80, an alumnus of Syracuse University’s S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications, will bring nearly three decades of strategic marketing leadership to his alma mater this fall in his new role as the David B. Falk Distinguished Professor of Sport Management. Burton will teach courses in international sport, sport communications and sport marketing while pursuing scholarly work, research and other academic initiatives in the College of Human Ecology’s Department of Sport Management.

In addition to serving as the first executive director of the Warsaw Sports Marketing Center at the University of Oregon’s Lundquist College of Business, he has held the position of chief marketing officer for the U.S. Olympic Committee and commissioner of the National Basketball League in Sydney, Australia. While he was a student at SU, Burton worked with the SU Athletics Department as an assistant to the director of sports publicity and promotion as well as a sports writer for The Post-Standard.

“Rick Burton is recognized internationally for his leadership, creativity and marketing background. He has worked for the Olympics, been a commissioner of an international professional basketball league and directed a graduate degree sports marketing program at Oregon,” says Michael D. Veley, chair and director of the Department of Sport Management. “We’re extremely excited to bring his expertise, knowledge and professional background to the Falk Center for Sport Management. Combined with the fact that Rick is an SU graduate, we couldn’t imagine a more perfect scenario for our long-term growth.”

A frequent contributor to publications and journals, including The New York Times, Business Week Online, Sport Business International, Brandweek, Advertising Age, Sports Business Journal and Sport Marketing Quarterly, Burton is a highly sought-after speaker/moderator and consultant whose affiliations have included the International Olympic Committee, NIKE, Visa, Disney, and the NFL and NHL, as well as numerous international sports leagues.

“We feel very fortunate to have attracted Rick to Syracuse University. He will be an additional expert resource for an excellent team of faculty in the Department of Sport Management,” says College of Human Ecology Dean Diane Lyden Murphy. “His experience in academics and the international industry of sports brings depth and currency to our academic program.”

“With the recent passing of Jim Warsaw, David and Rhonda Falk have perhaps become the most important contributors to sports business education in the world. It is a tremendous honor for me to accept this appointment as the David B. Falk Distinguished Professor of Sport Management at my alma mater,” Burton says. “David’s vision for this field is far ahead of the curve, and I am very much looking forward to representing the Falks, the Falk Center and Syracuse University beginning this fall.”

In April 2008, Syracuse University received a $5 million gift from renowned sports agent David B. Falk ’72 and his wife, Rhonda S. Falk ’74, establishing the David B. Falk Center for Sport Management, an interdisciplinary research center that will be the focal point of the Department of Sport Management in SU’s College of Human Ecology. The Falk Center will prepare the next generation of sport management leaders with an academically rigorous curriculum.

As part of The Campaign for Syracuse University, the Falk gift was bolstered through Faculty Today, SU’s gift challenge program created to encourage donors to endow faculty chairs and professorships, such as the David B. Falk Distinguished Professor of Sport Management. With a goal of $1 billion, The Campaign for Syracuse University is the most ambitious fundraising effort in SU’s history. More information is available online at