In honor of Black History Month, Gopher Athletics is celebrating those who made us great. Throughout February, GopherSports.com will share short interviews with African-American alumni from almost every Gopher program. In these interviews, former student-athletes reflect on their time at the U of M, provide advice to current Gophers and share what Black History Month means to them personally.
Name: Willie Burton
Sport(s): Men's Basketball
Years: 1987 -- 90
Hometown: Detroit, Mich.
Occupation: Behavior Intervention Specialist/ Curriculum Developer
What is it you honestly miss most about the University?
What I miss most about the University of Minnesota is the atmosphere on campus and the daily interactions with staff and students from around the world. This shaped my thought process and interest in education and international engagements.
If you could give the current student-athletes any piece of advice, what would it be?
If I could give advice to current student-athletes today, it would be to enjoy your time as both a student and an athlete. As a student, I would ask they absorb as much information as they could about different cultures and professions to expand their personal understanding of themselves and the world. As an athlete, I would tell them to stop once in a while and realize that many would love to have just a piece of your experience. Stop and smell the roses and take mental photos.
Please share your favorite university or athletic event you've attended since you graduated and what made it so special to you?
The most memorable moment for me was having the 1989-90 team recognized by the Athletics Department. This event helped us reconnect.
What are you grateful for?
I am most grateful to have the opportunity to play in the Big Ten Conference for the University of Minnesota.
What does Black History Month mean to you?
Black History Month is recognizing the African Americans contributions within the United States of America. Allowing the world see there is more to African Americans than what is being reported on the news.
What occupies your time now?
What occupies my time now is giving back. I work with K-12 students and student-athletes both in and outside the United States. To date, I have worked with approximately 500,000 male and female students.
Please visit Black History Month Central on Gophersports.com to see more profiles.
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