Frederic Lester Burk

Sosa: 1
Founder, San Francisco State U.


Spouses and children


John (Jr.) Burk 1786-1832   Jane Brisbin 1790-1866    
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Erastus Burk 1816   Mathilda Turner
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Frederic Lester Burk , Founder, San Francisco State U. 1862-1924



Dr. Frederic L. Burk, internationally known educator, for twenty-five years president of the State Teachers College of San Francisco, died yesterday at Stanford University hospital. Dr. Burk was 62 years old. He is survived by his widow Mrs. Caroline Frear Burk, who lives at 950 Pine Street.

Dr. Burk was born in Blenheim, Canada, on September 1, 1862. He came to California in his youth. He was graduated from the University of California in 1883, from Stanford University in 1892 and from Clark University in 1898.

From 1883 to 1889 Dr. Burk was a newspaper man in San Francisco. In 1889 he began his career as an educator. Starting as a teacher in public and private schools, he became superintendent of public schools of Santa Rosa in 1892, remaining there four years. The following year he was superintendent of the Santa Barbara public schools and then accepted the presidency of the State Teachers College of San Francisco, a position he held until his death.

Dr. Burk was known thought United States and European educational centers as the originator of the individual system of education, now used in many states and abroad. It was Dr. Burk's theory, that individual system of education instruction, as opposed to the class, or "lockstep system" accelerated the progress of a student, eliminated a waste of school time and effected a savings in the cost of schooling. It was on the basis of individual instruction that Dr. Burk conducted the State Teachers' College of San Francisco, a system that attracted attention and emulation both here and abroad.

Web Ref:

- individual: Obit San Francisco Chronicle, Page 6, June 13, 1924