University of Maryland Establishes Scholarship in Memory of Late 9:30 Club Bouncer

Josh Burdette, who graduated from Maryland in 1998, will be remembered by his alma mater through a scholarship for students active in campus events.
Photograph by Matthew Girard.

A scholarship fund is being created at the University of Maryland in honor of Josh Burdette, the longtime bouncer and manager at DC’s famed 9:30 Club who died last weekend at the age of 36. The Josh Burdette Student Entertainment Events Scholarship will be awarded annually to a Maryland student involved in the College Park campus’s events planning organization.

Burdette, who graduated from Maryland’s honors program in 1998 with a psychology degree, was active in the Student Entertainment Events program, commonly known as SEE. Befitting his future at the 9:30 Club, he was SEE’s security director, a gig that grew out of sideline jobs working the doors at frat parties.

Unmissable with his six-foot-three, 340-pound frame covered in tattoos and body piercings, including saucer-sized ear gauges, Burdette was perhaps better known as “That Guy from the 9:30 Club,” a moniker he proudly adopted. But despite the intimidating appearance, he was beloved by 9:30 patrons for a calm, gentle demeanor. To everyone but the most disruptive guests, he was generous and welcoming, and quicker to talk to people than hoist them out the door.

“I know I can be an intimidating presence,” Burdette said in the February 2009 issue of Washingtonian, “but I don’t try to carry myself that way.”

Burdette stayed active with SEE after graduation, volunteering his services and acting as a mentor to his successors. Donations can be made on the scholarship’s Web page.

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Staff Writer

Benjamin Freed joined Washingtonian in August 2013 and covers politics, business, and media. He was previously the editor of DCist and has also written for Washington City Paper, the New York Times, the New Republic, Slate, and BuzzFeed. He lives in Adams Morgan.