Marc Lisker OPC ’86 is 51 years old, married with two children, living in Greenwich, Conn., and working in New York City as the chief legal officer for the family investment firm established by Michael Dell of Dell Technologies. Lisker is many miles and three decades removed from 10th grade history class at Penn Charter.
Yet, he still remembers that term paper John Burkhart assigned him when he was just 15 years old.
“Thomas Aquinas and how his theory of scholasticism fit the 13th century mentality. The Gummere Library didn’t even have research material on the topic,” Lisker recalled. “It was a tough subject for me to digest at that age.”
Lisker was certain then, and even now, that the topic was the most challenging Burkhart assigned to anyone in that history class. Why him?
“He saw something inside me that even I did not see. I was a little nerdy and more on the studious side. I think in his own way Burky was saying he valued that about me, and that those qualities would serve me well in life. So he placed an academic challenge in my path to see how I would handle it. He was saying: Be who you are.”
In January, Lisker made a public gesture recognizing who his old teacher is. With a gift to Penn Charter’s new Athletics and Wellness Center, Lisker took the opportunity to dedicate the basketball scorers table to John Burkhart OPC ’72, who has been keeping score for PC teams for five decades. The state-of-the-art table is now at Dooney Field House and will move to the new center when it opens in the summer of 2021.
“My previous gifts to Penn Charter focused on scholarship and helping to make it possible for students with financial need to attend,” Lisker said. “Making a gift to honor Mr. Burkhart spoke to me because here is someone who was a really good teacher, an academic teacher who has always been involved in Penn Charter sports. It is a way to bridge the two.”
Lisker said he was aware even as a student that Burkhart was dedicated to the school and involved in all things Penn Charter.
“This is a fitting tribute to a man who doesn’t seek the spotlight.” PC