Most likely to succeed
University plays a central role in couples
personal and professional lives
by Janell Broyles
Most couples have an endearing story about their engagement. With
alumni Michael and Dorothy Burton, its who asked whom.
They cant agree.
I suppose if I were
going to do something truly different, Id be an astronaut
and go up on a space shuttle.
We were up in the Reunion Tower observation deck when the
agreement was reached, Michael says diplomatically.
He proposed to me. He always says I asked him, but thats
just not true, Dorothy responds with a grin. What
happened was, I told him that if he expected me to wait for
him, he needed to think again. We needed to be more than just
boyfriend and girlfriend. He had a choice.
And I chose the wise option, Michael says.
It took only four months after they met at a UTA Greek event for
the young couple to get engaged, but the demands of school meant
it would be four years before they could say their wedding vows.
Michael graduated from UTA with his bachelors degree in microbiology
the May after he met Dorothy and began attending Southern College
of Optometry in Memphis.
She still had two years to go at UTA, and I had two years
after that before Id be finished, Michael says. So
for four years, we could only afford to see each other once a month.
On June 23, 1984, they finally walked down the aisle. Michael had
his doctorate in optometry from the University of Houston, and Dorothy
had her bachelors in journalism and was working in corporate
communications. They bought a house in Duncanville and were ready
to settle downor so they thought.
Deciding she needed a new career challenge, Dorothy took some aptitude
tests at UTA and scored well in public administration. She entered
the urban affairs graduate program, obtaining her masters
degree in 1989. In the meantime, an internship at the Fort Worth
T transit system had a profound effect on her plans.
Id been thinking of becoming a city manager,
she remembers, but that internship was one of the most difficult
and rewarding experiences I ever had. I never forgot it.
After graduation, she spent eight years as assistant to Dallas
County Judge Lee Jackson. This March, she became chief of staff
to the executive vice president and general manager of Dallas Area
Rapid Transit, overseeing DARTs Administrative Services and
Property Management Division.
The couple, who have one daughter, enjoy volunteering. Dorothy
has served as a board member of Leadership Southwest and the Duncanville
Chamber of Commerce and as chairwoman of the Duncanville Planning
and Zoning Commission.
Michael serves as secretary of the UTA Alumni Association board
of directors and is an active member of the Texas Optometric Association
and the American Optometric Association. He also provides support
and services to local, national and international eye care missions.
And his optometry practice continues to grow. In 1996, he was honored
with the Outstanding African-American Alumni Award at UTAs
7th Annual African-American Alumni Scholarship Reception.
Asked if he would change anything about his career, Michael pauses.
I suppose if I were going to do something truly different,
Id be an astronaut and go up on a space shuttle. But Im
happy with my life right now, just the way it is.