Marine Officer Awarded USD’s Meg Whitman Leadership Scholarship

Major Eric Burton, a U.S. Marine Corps officer currently serving in Afghanistan, has been awarded the 2011 Meg Whitman Scholarship for the University of San Diego’s Master of Science in Executive Leadership (MSEL) program.

The $2,000 scholarship was funded by MSEL alumni, following the former e-Bay CEO’s speech at USD in 2007, and is awarded annually “to benefit students who have demonstrated a history of bold leadership balanced with the generosity to mentor and develop others consistent with the values and philosophy of Ms. Whitman,” said Kurt May, director of the MSEL program.

Burton, who will begin the MSEL program  in August, is currently serving in the Nimroz Province of Afghanistan, where he leads a team of 20 troops responsible for stabilization operations in uncharted territories. Additionally, Burton takes it upon himself daily to teach at least one Afghan child to write their name in his or her native language.

Burton has served for 18 years in the Marine Corps, much of which as an F-18 pilot. He has been recognized as “Instructor Pilot of the Year” and “Aviator of the Year.” In addition, he is founding member of the DS Action Group which serves families and those with Down Syndrome. The DS Action Group is responsible for opening the Down Syndrome Clinic at Rady Children’s Hospital.

Burton and his wife, Teresa, have four children ranging from five months to 11 years. The Burtons are active in outdoor sports and live in Ramona. In his spare time, Eric Burton is also a gifted singer and songwriter.

The MSEL program, offered through an alliance between USD’s School of Business Administration and the Ken Blanchard Companies, in an innovative, values-based business degree for established and emerging executives.  The mission of the program is to develop and inspire leaders who will transform their organizations and the world through service with compassion and integrity. For more information go to

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The University of San Diego sets the standard for an engaged, contemporary Catholic university where innovative Changemakers confront humanity’s urgent challenges. With more than 8,000 students from 75 countries and 44 states, USD is the youngest independent institution on the U.S. News & World Report list of top 100 universities in the United States. USD’s eight academic divisions include the College of Arts and Sciences, the School of Business, the Shiley-Marcos School of Engineering, the School of Law, the School of Leadership and Education Sciences, the Hahn School of Nursing and Health Science, the Joan B. Kroc School of Peace Studies, and the Division of Professional and Continuing Education. USD recently concluded our successful $317M Leading Change: The Campaign for USD, which represented the most ambitious fundraising effort in the history of the university. In September 2016, USD introduced Envisioning 2024, a strategic plan that capitalizes on the university’s recent progress and aligns new strategic goals with current strengths to help shape a vision for the future as the university looks ahead to its 75th anniversary in the year 2024.