Black History Month Employee Spotlight: Meet David Burke

David Burke’s story unfolds as a testament to curiosity, determination and the pursuit of equity. Growing up in Hudson, Ohio, David was no stranger to adversity. As one of the few Black individuals in his community, he was often faced with stereotypes and misconceptions. Despite the hurdles in his way, David remained true to himself, drawing strength from his family, his community and his unwavering belief in the value of making a difference in someone else’s life. 

An accomplished athlete, David’s skills in track and field serve as a source of pride and accomplishment in a world that sometimes aimed to diminish his achievements. David faced stigma and prejudice, often discrediting his achievements because of the color of his skin. While many tried to bring him down, David still excelled in this sport, setting school records that showcased his talent and determination. His success on the track not only fueled his academic pursuits but also instilled in him a sense of discipline and focus that he carries with him today. 

After graduating from Hudson High School, David pursued his undergraduate studies at Ohio Wesleyan University, where he found not only a nurturing academic environment but also a supportive community that embraced diversity and fostered inclusivity. During his time at Ohio Wesleyan, David’s passion for education and mentorship blossomed, propelling him to pursue further studies in the field.

Driven by a desire to make a difference in the lives of others, David obtained not just one, but two master’s degrees. His first master’s degree in Sports Science and Administration from the University of Akron laid the groundwork for a successful career in coaching and athletics, while his second master’s degree in Adult Education from Muskingum University provided him with the knowledge and skills necessary to create positive change in the lives of adult learners.  

Over the years, David’s journey has taken him from the track field to the classroom, from coaching to counseling and ultimately to his role at College Now, where he started off as an Adult Programs coordinator and was later promoted to manager. Here, David has found a platform to enact the change he’s been striving to make, helping members of the Greater Cleveland community achieve their dreams of higher education and financial stability.  

Through College Now, David is given the opportunity to network and connect with individuals and even had the privilege of meeting influential figures like Angela Davis, further inspiring his dedication to positive change through education and advocacy. He says, “I love immersing myself with a whole bunch of people. To me, that’s what my core is.”


For David, the greatest reward lies in the impact he can have on the lives of others. Whether it’s helping a client pay off their loans or guiding a student toward their academic goals, David stays true to his desire to make a difference. Fueled by the advice of his father to “listen, think and try to learn something,” David approaches each interaction with empathy, compassion and a genuine ambition to understand and uplift those around him. He says, “Always try to learn something- even if it’s small. Learn how to be kind, learn about people. Learn outside of your fishbowl.”   

As he reflects on his journey from Hudson to College Now, David remains steadfast in his belief that every individual has the power to make a meaningful impact on the world. “As you get older, you realize that life isn’t very long. I try to remember that it’s my world and I want to make a mark on it.”  With a heart full of compassion and a spirit fueled by resilience, David continues to inspire and empower others, one dream at a time.