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Huston-Tillotson University Officials Announce Three Finalists for the Presidency Position

HT Presidential Candidate Huston-Tillotson University Presidential Candidate Huston-Tillotson University Presidential Candidate
Dr. Thomas J. Calhoun Ms. Colette Pierce Burnette Dr. Deneese L Robinson Jones

(AUSTIN, Texas) 2.20.15 — Huston-Tillotson University officials today  announced three finalists for the Huston-Tillotson University presidency position after completing a nationwide search that began when President and Chief Executive Officer Larry L. Earvin, Ph.D. announced his retirement 11 months ago.

The announcement for Earvin’s replacement, posted and disseminated widely within the higher education sector, netted about 70 applications. The finalists are:  Dr. Thomas J. Calhoun, Jr., Ms. Colette Pierce Burnette, and Dr. Deneese L. Robinson Jones.

The 18-member Search Committee, comprised of representatives from the HT Board of Trustees, faculty, staff, students, alumni, and community and business leaders, narrowed the field to a list of semi-finalists who were engaged in two days of interviews before the finalists were selected.

Search Committee Chair and Trustee Trennis Jones, said, “We are pleased to make this much anticipated announcement with an invitation for the community to meet the candidates during this phase to select the next president of Huston-Tillotson University. The interest shows that the institution’s reputation is respected among higher education leaders throughout the country.” 

Calhoun currently serves as the Interim Vice President for Academic Affairs and Provost at University of North Alabama in Florence.  He has served at the institution in various academic positions with advancement from Associate Vice President for Academic Affairs to Vice President of Enrollment Management.  He has experience at several higher education institutions and served as Principal of Hales Franciscan High School, Chicago, IL.  Calhoun earned his doctorate in philosophy from the University of Washington, Seattle, WA.  He also has a Master of Divinity degree from the Interdenominational Theological Center, Atlanta, GA.

Colette Pierce Burnette serves as the Interim Director and Chief Executive Officer of the urban satellite location for a public liberal arts university serving more than 2,500 students at Central State University, Dayton, OH. Her leadership experience includes a position as Interim President of Pierce College, Puyallup, WA.  Prior to the presidency, Pierce Burnette was Vice President of Administration and Chief Financial Officer, Administration and Finance at Central State University, Wilberforce, OH.  She was also Vice President for Information Technology and Services and Chief Informational Officer, and the Executive Assistant to the President at Wilberforce.  Pierce Burnett will defend her dissertation within a few months to earn her doctorate in education from the Graduate School of Education, University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia. 

Robinson Jones earned her doctorate and master’s degrees from Texas A&M University, in College Station. She graduated from South Oak High School in Dallas, before earning her bachelor’s degree at Texas Woman’s University.  Since 2012, Robinson Jones has served as Provost and Professor of Education, Drake University, Des Moines, IA.  She also served as Dean and Professor of Education, College of Education and Human Services, Longwood University, Farmville, VA.  In her longest serving position, she was Director and Co-founder of the Center for the Study of Academic Achievement in Learning Environments (SAALE), Curriculum and Instruction Department, College of Education, University of Kentucky in Lexington.

Huston-Tillotson is a historically black institution with a heritage in Austin that dates back to 1875.  Earvin informed the HT board last year that he would conclude his tenure as President at the end of his current contract, effective June 30, 2015. He has served the University as its fifth president since July 1, 2000.  During this time, Earvin had an enormous impact on the school, raising it from a College to a University in 2005, doubling enrollment from 500 to 1,031 students, and more than doubling the school’s endowment from $5 Million to more than $11.5 million.

Candidates will visit the HT campus February 27, March 10, and March 12, 2015.  For the complete visit schedule visit the Presidential Search page from the home page.



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