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Dr. Colette Pierce Burnette

Colette Pierce Burnette, Ed.D.
Huston-Tillotson University
President and Chief Executive Officer

Dr. Pierce Burnette, a native of Cleveland, Ohio, joined Huston-Tillotson University as president on July 1, 2015.  She is the first female president of the combined institutions of Huston and Tillotson Colleges.  She served as interim President at Pierce College in Puyallup, Washington, the Vice President for Administration and Chief Financial Officer, Executive Assistant to the President, Vice President for Information Technology and Services and Chief Information Officer at Central State University in Wilberforce, Ohio, Dean of Information Technology at Pierce College in Lakewood, Washington, and Manager of Consulting and Project Management Services at the Washington State Department of Transportation in Olympia, Washington. Colette has combined her IQ, EQ, entrepreneurial spirit, and technical knowledge to forge successful careers in engineering, information technology, and higher education. Before transitioning into higher education, Dr. Pierce Burnette worked as a Computer Analyst at The Washington Post, an Operations Support Engineer at Proctor and Gamble, Director of Information Systems at Neighborhood Reinvestment Corporation, and ran her own computer consulting firm, CompuMent.

Dr. Pierce Burnette is a strong proponent of Historically Black Colleges and Universities and civic and community engagement.  She is laser-focused on finding resources to support a student-centered university.  Dr. Pierce Burnette’s commitment to being a servant leader is evident in her leadership positions in the Austin community as co-chair of the Mayor of Austin’s Task Force on Institutional Racism and Systemic Inequities, Board Chair of Leadership Austin, and Treasurer of the Independent Colleges and Universities of Texas.  She serves on numerous boards and committees, including the Greater Austin Area Black Chamber, National Association of Schools, Colleges, and Universities of the United Methodist Church, Texas Methodist Foundation, Austin Community Foundation, Frontier Bank, Greater Austin Urban League, Big Brothers Big Sisters of Central Texas Advisory Council, Urban Roots Advisory Council, and Waterloo Greenway Board.

Her many honors include the Ohio State University Outstanding Engineering Alumnus Award, Anti-Defamation League Community Hero Award, Urban Land Institute Visionary Award, iACT Hope Award, Mosaic Award, Austin Women’s Hall of Fame, Girls Empowerment Network Igniting Power in Girls Award, named one of the Ten Most Influential Women in Austin, Administrator of the Year (awarded by the Student Government Association), Distinguished Woman of the Year Award, Diverse Issues in Higher Education’s Top 25 Women in Higher Education, US Army Distinguished Civilian Volunteer Service Medal Award, Thurgood Marshall Foundation Chief Information Officer of the Year Award, Thurgood Marshall Chief Fiscal Officer of the Year Award, Dayton Business Journal Chief Fiscal Officer Awardee, and the National Diversity Council Glass Ceiling Award to name a few. Dr. Pierce Burnette has been named the 2021 Austinite of the Year by the Austin Chamber of Commerice for her work expanding the school and city leadership. Dr. Pierce Burnette, a highly sought-after speaker in Central Texas, is also a member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc., and The Links, Incorporated.

Colette received her high school diploma in Cleveland, Ohio, from John F. Kennedy High School, a Bachelor of Science in Engineering from The Ohio State University, and a Master of Science in Administration from Georgia College.  She is a graduate of the Harvard Graduate School of Education’s Management Development Program and received her Ed.D. in Higher Education Administration from the University of Pennsylvania.

Colette is married to retired Lieutenant Colonel Dr. Daarel Burnette, and they have two adult children (Daarel II of Washington, DC and Daana of Los Angeles, CA).

Twitter  @HTPresCPB



Role: President and CEO
Phone: 512.505.3002
Office: V-A 305