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Huston-Tillotson University Selected for Inaugural Multi-Million HBCU Transformation Project

AUSTIN, Texas – Huston-Tillotson University is one of only 20 HBCUs selected for the groundbreaking HBCU Transformation Project. Launched by the Thurgood Marshall College Fund (TMCF), UNCF (United Negro College Fund), and Partnership for Education Advancement, the HBCU Transformation Project aspires to drive tangible, long-term progress across Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) and impact the Black economy. This first-of-its-kind collaboration aims to increase HBCU health and sustainability, improve student outcomes in retention and graduation rates, expand enrollment, and increase capacity building with faculty and staff. Flexible support from the coalition focuses resources to highest priorities at each institution.

President and CEO of Huston-Tillotson University, Dr. Colette Pierce Burnette views the inaugural HBCU Transformation Project as a “historic initiative that will unequivocally transform the HBCU landscape, resulting in increased enrollment, higher retention and graduation rates, and capacity building for faculty and staff.” President Pierce Burnette continues, “There is nothing like the mission of Historically Black Colleges and Universities and there is definitely nothing like Huston-Tillotson University – Austin’s oldest institution of higher learning and only HBCU. We are excited and committed to this work promoting student success.”

The HBCU Transformation Project’s overall initiative is structured around six interdependent sub-initiatives that work in service of supporting all HBCUs:

  • Support institutional improvement and innovation via TMCF, UNCF, and the Partnership for Education Advancement;
  • Institutional and intermediary capacity building to lead and sustain ongoing improvement;
  • Pursue increased public funding for HBCUs and rectify historic inequities;
  • Attracting private capital for endowments and sustainable reserves;
  • Strengthening community and regional economic development partnerships; and
  • Bolstering positive perceptions and narratives surrounding HBCUs.

Blue Meridian Partners, a pioneering philanthropic model for finding and funding scalable solutions to problems that limit economic and social mobility for America’s young people and families in poverty, committed an initial $60 million to support the HBCU Transformation Project.

Additional Information from the HBCU Transformation Project News Release

Although they represent just three percent of all Higher Education institutions, HBCUs produce nearly 20% of all African American college graduates. HBCUs have produced more than 1 million associate, bachelor, master and doctoral degrees combined since 1984.

HBCUs produce 40% of all Black engineers, 40% of Black Congress members, 50% of all Black lawyers, 50% of all Black doctors, and 80% of Black judges. These professions are critical for closing the wealth gap between Black and White workers.

While HBCUs overproduce relative to their better-resourced counterparts, they have remained underfunded. Historical underfunding has led to a myriad of financial issues for HBCUs, particularly much smaller endowments relative to their peers.

“Our country has under-invested in HBCUs which have a proven track record for unlocking student potential, driving socioeconomic mobility, and serving as significant community assets,” said James Runcie, President, Partnership for Education Advancement.

“HBCUs have long overperformed as engines of opportunity,” said Jim Shelton, Blue Meridian Partners chief investment and innovation officer. “With this investment, we aim to significantly strengthen these institutions and student success at scale, contribute to closing racial gaps in access to opportunity, and boost economic mobility and wealth-building among Black people and communities now and for generations to come.”

The 20 HBCUs Selected for the Inaugural HBCU Transformation Project:

  • Alabama State University
  • Benedict College
  • Claflin University
  • Clark Atlanta University
  • Delaware State University
  • Dillard University
  • Florida A&M University
  • Hampton University
  • Huston-Tillotson University
  • Johnson C. Smith University
  • Morehouse College
  • Norfolk State University
  • North Carolina Agricultural & Technical State University
  • South Carolina State University
  • Spelman College
  • Talladega College
  • Tuskegee University
  • University of Maryland Eastern Shore
  • Wiley College
  • Winston-Salem State University

About Huston-Tillotson University

Huston-Tillotson University, the oldest institution of learning in Austin, Texas, has roots dating back to 1875. HT is an independent, church-related, historically black, four-year liberal arts institution located on a 23-acre tree-lined campus near downtown in East Austinn. Huston-Tillotson University’s mission is to nurture a legacy of leadership and excellence in education, connecting knowledge, power, passion, and values. The University offers associate and master’s degrees in addition to Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Science degrees in more than 19 areas of study.