Penn People

Jervis Watson Burdick

1889 - 1962

Penn Connection

  • A.B. 1912
  • Captain of varsity track team
  • Member of Psi Upsilon and Phi Kappa Beta fraternities
  • Member of Canteen Club and Sphinx Society

Jervis Watson Burdick was born in Philadelphia on March 8th, 1889, and attended the William Penn Charter School before entering the University of Pennsylvania.

While at Penn, Burdick was a member of the Psi Upsilon and Phi Kappa Beta fraternities as well as the Canteen Club and the Sphinx Society. As a member and captain of the Penn track team, Burdick was the Intercollegiate High Jump champion three years in a row, setting national records in the process. His career reached its pinnacle in 1912 when he was awarded a spot as a high jumper on the U.S. Olympic track team. Burdick was eliminated in the trials of these Olympics, held in Stockholm of that year.

After graduating from Penn with a bachelor’s degree, Burdick went into the coal business as a broker in the Pennsylvania Building in downtown Philadelphia. He worked in that business for thirty-five years, during which time he was married twice and inducted into the University of Pennsylvania Hall of Fame. Jervis Burdick died at the age of seventy-three, on November 11th, 1962, in Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania.