The president and CEO of Huston-Tillotson University, a private historically Black university in Austin, Texas, has announced that she will retire in June 2022. Appointed in 2015, Dr. Colette Pierce Burnette was the first woman to hold the position since the merger of Tillotson College and Samuel Huston College in 1952.
“Huston-Tillotson University (HT) has been blessed to have Dr. Burnette’s leadership for the past seven years,” said Dr. Carol McDonald, chair of the Huston-Tillotson University Board of Trustees. “Her vision and perseverance have made HT a stronger, more vibrant, and more visible institution in Austin and beyond.”
According to HT, Burnette grew the university's endowment by more than 55% and, in 2021, led the school through a smooth and successful reaccreditation visit from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges. Under her leadership, the university initiated a series of new degree programs and innovations, including the Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation; an MBA program designed for working individuals; the Center for Academic Innovation and Transformation; and undergraduate programs in environmental justice and global studies.
Burnette also forged a relationship with Tesla to create a manufacturing engineering curriculum and an internship for undergraduate students and she strengthened the university's partnership with Apple, which has made possible Burnette's passion project, the African American Male Teachers Initiative.
“We know Austin and the HT community love Dr. Burnette. She cannot be replaced,” McDonald said. “In the coming weeks, we will take steps to begin a national search to find a president who can succeed her and build on all Huston-Tillotson University has become.”