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The Courageous, Hopeful Life of Marcus Burke

Soft-spoken and articulate, Susquehanna University graduate and author Marcus Burke shares insights that belie his 27 years.

Nine months after having his first book published, Burke returned to Susquehanna in January for Winter Convocation and the university's Martin Luther King Jr. commemoration, meeting with students and reconnecting with faculty and staff who served as his teachers and mentors.

The author of Team Seven, a novel published by Doubleday and based in part on Burke's own experiences growing up in Milton, Mass., he's already begun work on his second novel. His pursuit of a writing career was not what he intended when he entered Susquehanna in 2006 as a first-year student and a forward for the basketball team.

Selinsgrove was quite different from Milton, located just south of inner-city Boston, where he grew up with a mostly absentee father and a strong, faith-filled mother, Jean, who worked to support Marcus and his two sisters, Ayana and Xandria.

By the time Burke entered college, his prowess on the basketball court had served him well. The sport and his efforts to dramatically improve his grades enabled him to leave Milton High School and enter private Brimmer and May School in Chestnut Hill, Mass. There he made connections that led him to Susquehanna, where he played basketball for head coach Frank Marcinek.

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