Irish American Museum of Washington, D.C.
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Anne M. Burke



Anne M. Burke was born on Feb. 3, 1944, in Chicago, she received her B.A. degree in education from DePaul University in 1976 and her J.D. degree from IIT/Chicago-Kent College of Law in 1983. Today she resides as a Justice of the Supreme Court of Illinois. She was admitted to the Federal Court, Northern District of Illinois, in 1983, the United States Court of Appeals for the 7th Circuit in 1985, and certified for the Trial Bar, Federal District Court in 1987. In that same year, Governor James Thompson appointed her Judge to the Court of Claims and, in 1991, she was reappointed by Governor Jim Edgar. In April 1994, she was appointed special counsel to the Governor for Child Welfare Services. In August 1995, she was appointed to the Appellate Court, First District. In 1996, she was elected to the Appellate Court, First District, for a full term. A third-generation Irish-American, she was also instrumental in starting what are now called the Special Olympics. 
She is married to Alderman Edward M. Burke, and they are the parents of five children, Jennifer (Jim Murphy), Edward (Jackie), the late Emmett, Sarah, and Travis, as well as five grandchildren

A third-generation Irish-American, Anne Burke nee McGlone was also instrumental in starting what are now called the Special Olympics and has been awarded the Pugsley Medal for her crucial contributions in conceptualizing and launching the Special Olympics.

Burke was asked to put on a show to raise the mental retardation recreation program’s public profile. Since Burke had been organizing sports events for her children since 1965, she suggested they should stage a track and field meet. In 1967 it was decided that Soldier Field in Chicago would act as its home base.

Burke called Eunice Shriver to explain the concept and to see if she would provide funding for it from the Kennedy Foundation to the Park District. Shriver told Burke to put her ideas in a proposal, and in January 1968 she was invited to Washington to discuss it. With that input, she returned to Chicago, consulted with Bill Freeberg, who was head of the Recreation and Outdoor Education Department at Southern Illinois University, and the two of them submitted a plan together for a "National Olympics for the Retarded."

The Kennedy Foundation approved the plan, and on March 29, 1968, Eunice Shriver announced at a press conference with Mayor Richard Daly a grant of $25,000 to the Park District for a "Chicago Special Olympics" specifically for the mentally retarded, and so the concept of the Special Olympics developed.