Rick joined the Board in 1970 and served as its president for six years, from 1985 to 1991. In 1996, he was named a trustee emeritus and continues to lend his advice and assistance to the Board today.

A 1963 graduate of Harvard, Rick first worked for the National Shawmut Bank as an analyst. Joining the Federal Street Capital Corporation in 1965, he served as vice president while earning his M.B.A. at Boston University. He is now a partner emeritus of and an advisor to Charles River Ventures, a firm that he helped found in 1970. In addition to his association with Middlesex, Rick is a past chairman of both the WGBH Educational Foundation and the Museum of Science in Boston, and he continues to be active in both organizations. He is also a trustee of the Sea Education Association.

Four generations of the Burnes family have graduated from Middlesex, beginning with Rick’s uncles, James ’29 and Kennett ’33, and his father Bunny ’35, who was a trustee from 1957 to 1959. Rick’s brothers—Bear ’57, Ken ’61, Dan ’64, and Andy ’68—are all alumni, as are three nephews, Jamie ’92, Rick ’94, and Alex ’04, and two nieces, Jennifer Burnes Fulton ’85 and Eliza Burnes Brown ’98. Rick’s grandnephew, George Fulton ’21, begins the family’s fourth generation to attend Middlesex. Rick has three grown children—Sarah ’85, Gordon, and Ethan—and nine grandchildren.

In addition to this extensive family legacy, it is the challenge of keeping Middlesex in the first rank of educational institutions that has drawn Rick to his work as a trustee. Schools like Middlesex, he believes, have the ability to send educated graduates into the world to become productive leaders and contributing members of their communities.