William M. Burke, 58, founder and president of the Washington Center for Internships and Academic Seminars, died Nov. 14 of complications related to the treatment of a brain tumor at Inova Mount Vernon Hospital.
Mr. Burke and Sheila McRevey, who later married and settled in Alexandria, started the Washington Center in 1975 to provide Washington internships for students from throughout the world.
About 33,000 students have been through the center's programs in the past 29 years.
One became chief of staff for a congressman. Others became state legislators and city council members, business people and executives at nonprofit associations.
"This was not only a vocation for him but a true passion," said Heather Conley, who was an intern in 1991 from West Virginia Wesleyan College and is now a deputy assistant secretary of state.
"He was very hands-on with students in the program. I can still remember to this day, he would tell students: 'Remember, Dick Cheney was an intern.' "
A native of Norwood, Mass., Mr. Burke never lost his Boston area accent.
He received an associate's degree from Norwalk (Conn.) Community College, a bachelor's degree from American International College in Springfield, Mass., and a master's degree in education from the University of Massachusetts in 1972.
He began his career in education at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst, where he served as director of outreach programs from 1972 to 1975.
Expanding upon the idea of providing placement, housing and seminars for University of Massachusetts students, he started an internship program in Washington.
He created programs for Native Americans, women, minorities and students with disabilities.
Mr. Burke was one of the founding members of the National Society for Internships and Experiential Education in 1978.
He was the first treasurer of the organization, now called the National Society for Experiential Education, and worked to create what is the main association for professionals involved in various forms of experiential learning, especially internships.
In addition to his wife of 27 years, Sheila McRevey Burke of Alexandria, survivors include two children, Reavey Burke and Barry Burke, both of Alexandria; a sister; and a brother.