According to Director of Alumni & Parent Relations Cynthia Mathai, the Alumni of the Year Award has historically been given to an alumnus or alumna who exemplifies the mission of Multnomah University by their personal integrity, faithfulness to Jesus, and outstanding professional accomplishments. “This year, we could not merely award one of our alumni,” she explained. “Larry and Dianne Burke live and work as a team, so it is only appropriate for us to honor them as such!”
The Burkes, who met at a Multnomah orientation event, graduated with bachelor’s degrees in biblical studies in 1984. “It was a high privilege to walk alongside so many [staff and students] who had taken up Dr. Mitchell’s challenge to ‘fall in love with the Savior,’” said Dianne.
After furthering their education, the Burkes spent more than 20 years working overseas in Chad with Wycliffe Bible Translators. While living in a remote African village, they raised four children and completed a New Testament translation in a local language. Larry has served as regional director and country director for Wycliffe and currently works as the Africa director for Faith Comes by Hearing, the largest producer of audio Bibles in Africa. Dianne, a registered nurse, has served as a Bible translator and member care specialist for Wycliffe.
Not only did the Burkes find each other at Multnomah — they also discovered their calling there. Multnomah was where they first learned of the 10/40 window, where the world’s most unengaged people groups reside. This captured their hearts, and they knew they wanted to play a role in changing the statistics. Multnomah provided them with a solid foundation. “Learning how to study the Bible in its context is helpful for so many areas of life,” said Dianne. “But as we headed toward Bible translation, we knew it was foundational.”