On November 6, 1991, the family of Robert A. Burton dedicated a Chinese dragon shield (pictured above), and a memorial plaque to the University of Kansas. Professor Burton was the director of the Eastern Civilization Program at the University of Kansas from 1962 until 1977.
Robert A. Burton was born February 16, 1922. From 1943 to 1946, Burton served in the United States Navy and earned the rank of Lieutenant. For the next 16 years following his service, Burton took on many different roles, some of which included working as a United Press correspondent for Shanghai and Peking, writing for the United States Information Service in Hong Kong, working as an ABC Hong Kong correspondent, and serving as a fellow for the American Universities Field Staff. After joining the University of Kansas, Burton took one year of leave in the early 1970s to serve in Washington D.C. as the executive director of Citizens to Change U.S. China Policy, a group advocating for policy that mirrored the goals adopted by the Nixon Administration. In his lifetime, Professor Burton was also vice president of distribution at a Hong Kong film company, a guest lecturer at NATO Defense College in Paris, and a lecturer on China at universities such as Harvard, Dartmouth, Brown, and California Institute of Technology, among many other accomplishments. Robert Burton passed away on December 10, 1987.
During the dedication of the shield and plaque, Professor Burton’s adopted son, Richard Kramer, said, “We feel this gift symbolizes our father’s passion for the Orient and particularly his love of China.” The shield and plaque are currently displayed on the fifth floor of Watson Library.