David Keith Burghart

1947 -

David Burghart, a pianist, organist, conductor, and brass and woodwind player, taught music for nearly twenty years in the Seventh-day Adventist school system. For more than twenty years he has also worked in development as a successful fundraiser for SDA educational and medical institutions.

David was born in Sleepy Eye, Minnesota, one of five children and the only son of Orville Ellsworth and Lucille Virginia Battig Burghart. Music was an important activity in their home, and all of the children started piano lessons in the fourth grade.

They attended a small one-room public school with fifteen students through David's fifth- grade year. The school closed at that time and they transferred to a larger elementary school for the remainder of his grade school years. He recently talked about his musical experiences at the new school and later at Maplewood Academy:

I was given lessons on a metal clarinet at the new school, and by the time I was in eighth grade I was playing in the high school band. When I got to Maplewood Academy, I was given an alto clarinet and was amazed at how easy it was to blow, a real contrast to the instrument I had been playing. When I tried to play my old clarinet later, I realized I had been blowing my brains out! I really enjoyed being in music at Maplewood and was inspired by my music teachers, Joyce Anderson Baker and Glenn Wheeler, to pursue a career in music.

Following graduation from the academy in 1965, David enrolled as a music education major at Union College with organ as his major performance area. During his first year, he took a brass methods and techniques class and found that he particularly enjoyed playing the baritone (euphonium). Melvin Hill, chair of the department and teacher of the class, encouraged him in his interest in changing his performance area to that instrument and by year's end he had made the change. In later years he would regard that move as a life-changing event.

David was a member of the college band during his five years at UC and served as student director in his senior year. He also conducted the band program at nearby College View Academy during that year.

While at UC, he met Verna Rose Rudyk, a native of Alberta, Canada, and they married in August 1969. Following their graduation from UC in 1970, they accepted positions at Shenandoah Valley Academy in Virginia, where he directed the band and taught keyboard and band instruments, and she served as registrar and secretary to the principal. During this time they had two children, Jason and Janelle. In 1976 they moved to Oregon, where they worked for the next two years at Livingston Junior Academy in Salem.

They then accepted positions at Ozark Adventist Academy in Arkansas, where David directed the band and chaired the music program for the next six years. In 1984 the Burgharts accepted positions at Cedar Lake Academy, now Great Lakes Academy, in Michigan for two years. While there, he made arrangements for the band to travel to Detroit, where it played at a Detroit Tigers baseball game, an exciting activity for both him and the students. During this time he completed an M.Mus.Ed at VanderCook College of Music in Chicago, graduating in 1986.

That fall the family moved to California, where he directed the band and Verna served as registrar at Rio Lindo Academy. At the end of his first year the principal approached him about raising money for the academy. Although hesitant to do so, he completed certification to do fundraising that summer at what was called Fundraising School, a program at Indiana University that would later become a highly developed program.

Upon returning to RLA, he conducted a successful campaign to raise needed money for the school and found the experience to be very gratifying. For the remainder of his time there he continued to fundraise for the academy in addition to teaching music.

In his first year at the academy he contacted officials at Candlestick Park in San Francisco about the bandís playing at one of the Giants' baseball games, telling them what he had done with his band in Detroit. That first appearance was followed by a standing invitation to play during the five years he taught at RLA. His success with the band program led to his colleagues' selecting him as recipient of the Zapara Excellence in Teaching Award in 1989.

Because of his success in fundraising and the fulfillment it brought him, he contacted St. Helena Hospital and Health Center in 1990 and expressed interest in working for them. They responded positively and offered him a position as a trainee, one he held for the next two years. At the end of that training, in which he had done very well, Andrews University hired him in 1992 as Associate Director of Development. He became Director of Development at AU in 1996 and in March 1998 became Vice-President for Advancement at Southern Adventist University.

Within his first year at SAU, he earned his credential as a Certified Fund Raising Executive (CFRE). Because of his music background he also served as chair of the search committee for a new music department chair when Marvin Robertson retired in 1999.

In 2003 he accepted a position in California as president of the Glendale Adventist Medical Center Foundation. Six years later the Burgharts returned to Michigan, where he became President of the Lakeland Health Foundation and Director of Development in St. Joseph, a position he presently holds. Beginning in October, he will be Regional Director Elect of the Midwest Region of the Association for Healthcare Philanthropy (AHP), an international nondenominational organization. Following one year as director- elect he will serve a two-year term as Director.

Burghart is gratified by the impact his efforts have had in enabling programs and institutions to do things they could not have done otherwise. He has promoted the idea of the SDA churchesí being involved more in their communities and by so doing garnering financial support for church-related projects from those who are not part of the church. He has been successful in demonstrating the effectiveness of this approach.

Even though his primary activity after leaving Rio Lindo Academy has been fundraising, he has still continued to be involved in music. While at Glendale, he sang as a second tenor in Christian Edition, a male chorus conducted by Calvin Knipschild. Since living in Michigan, he has formed and conducts a male chorus in his local church at Paw Paw, where he also serves as church organist. While working at AU he particularly enjoyed assisting in the fundraising for the pipe organ at the seminary at AU.

Verna, who became a U.S. citizen in 2005, has held a number of office positions since they left RLA, including Administrative Assistant for Marketing and Enrollment Services at SAU; Member Services Administrator at the Glendale Chamber of Commerce; and, most recently, a member of the office support staff of Randall Residence, an assisted living network. The Burghart children, who live nearby in Michigan, are also both in the assisted living business. They have two children each, all four of whom take piano lessons from their grandfather.


Sources: Interview with David Burghart, June 5, 2012; Minnesota Birth Index; Canadian Union Messenger, 6 October 1969, 374; Columbia Union Visitor, 29 October 1970, 16; Southwestern Union Record, 12 January 1978, 16O; Southern Columns, Spring1998, 13; Lake Union Herald, January 1999, 29; Southern Tidings, February 1999; Christian Edition NewsNotes, Summer 2005; Andrews University Focus, Winter 2010, 22; Press releases from Glendale Adventist Medical Center, 2003 and Lakeland Health Foundation, 2010; Randall Residence website (2012); Personal Knowledge.