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Office Of The President


Dr. Melva K. Wallace

The 7th President & CEO of Huston-Tillotson University 


For over twenty years Dr. Melva K. Wallace has worked in higher education as a leader and as a fierce national advocate. Today, she proudly serves as the seventh President and CEO of one of the top private liberal arts colleges in the country, Huston-Tillotson University, an HBCU in Austin, TX.

HT is the first institution of higher learning in the city of Austin and since President Wallace who is affectionately know on social media as MKWthe7th has taken the helm, this powerhouse institution boasts increased fundraising efforts, increase in new student enrollment, increased international student enrollment, increased graduate enrollment, increased online enrollment, and boasts the largest male new student enrollment at 55% of the population. As a fiscal conservative, Dr. Wallace has been highly successful in assisting institutions reach their financial goals and trains higher education CPAs on best practices for enrollment, cost controls, and fiscal compliance. To date, Wallace has been instrumental in amassing over $20 million in grants and gifts.

President Wallace is a Presidential Leadership Scholar who was selected in 2016 to study leadership under the tutelage of three former American Presidents, President George H. W. Bush, President George W. Bush, and President William J. Clinton. In 2020, she was heralded as “a futurist” by former President George W. Bush and was invited by The Bush Institute to be a featured writer for the Summer 2020 edition of The Catalyst: A Journal of Ideas from the Bush Institute on How Educators Can Prime First-Generation College Students for Success). ( success-for-first-generation-college-students.html).

She is also the 2018 recipient of the ATHENA award which is the highest honor in the state of Louisiana for professional excellence, community service and for actively assisting women in their attainment of professional excellence and leadership skills. And, in 2022, Wallace was lauded by Diverse Higher Ed Magazine as one of the top 25 innovative and dynamic women leaders in the world who are paving the way for others in higher education. Additionally, in 2022 Wallace was recognized in the city of Shreveport as a Virginia Shehee award nominee as one of the top six most influential women in the city.

Wallace is a board member for Centenary College of Louisiana which is one of the top private liberal arts colleges in the country and is a member of the board for Christus Shumpert Hospital.  Since arriving to Austin, she has continued her community service work as a member of the board for Ballet Austin, Austin PBS, and the Black Fund which provides over 1 million dollars of funding for black businesses.  She is also a member of the National Association for University Women and Board President for Extensions of Excellence Arts Organization in Shreveport founded by Mr. Vincent Williams. 

Most notably, she is the founding board member for the Higher Education Leadership Foundation which has provided leadership training to over 500 HBCU leaders across the country.  Many of those leaders are now serving as university Presidents, Vice Presidents, Directors, and Deans for HBCUs across the country.  In 2011 she co-founded the Shreveport Charter Foundation which built the first new school in city of Shreveport, Louisiana in over 30 years, Magnolia School of Excellence charter school. In addition, her service as Vice President and President of that board also solidified building a second school, Magnolia High School, in 2016. These two schools currently enroll over 1000 students in the Shreveport community.

Prior to working in higher education, Wallace worked in corporate America as a successful c-suite executive. However, she found her passion…providing access to education for the underestimated. Known across the country as a “solutionist” and a creative, Wallace co-created and co-teaches a course entitled, The Business of Trap Music, with the award-winning rapper, Tip T.I. Harris. Their course has been featured in magazines such as Forbes and Billboard Magazine.  For much of Wallace’s higher education career, she provided leadership in several roles within the Southern University System which is the only HBCU college system in the world. Within the Southern University System, she served as Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs and Enrollment at Southern University Shreveport where she achieved three historic enrollments and assisted in securing funding for three new campus buildings. Served as interim Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs and Enrollment at Southern University New Orleans, where she was instrumental in securing their reaffirmation, and honorably served two System Presidents as the first Chief of Staff of the Southern University System managing five campuses with over 15,000 students throughout the state of Louisiana. 

Although much of her work has been within the HBCU space, Wallace formerly worked in Academic Affairs as Associate Dean of the College at Centenary College of Louisiana. Centenary is lauded as one of the top four-year liberal arts colleges in the United States. Under her leadership at Centenary, the College recognized a 4% increase in retention.

Williams is very active in state and national service and has received numerous commendations commemorating her dedication. She’s an alumna of Leadership Louisiana, 40 under 40, and named Top Professional of the Year by the Shreveport Chamber of Commerce. Notably, she was selected for the Oxford Round Table- University of Oxford, England.

In 2023, Dr. Wallace was honored by the United Negro College Fund as a president in leadership.  Because of her national prominence in higher education as a national spokesperson for HBCUs, she has been featured in a number of magazines and media publications expressing her views on these beloved institutions.  In 2023, she was named by Austin Business Journal as one of the Texas 100 Top Influential Professionals to Watch. Wallace is a member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority Incorporated. 

Wallace received a Bachelor’s Degree in Mass Communication and a Master’s degree in Public Administration from Grambling State University. She also earned her Ph.D. in Urban Higher Education from Jackson State University. 

She is married to her phenomenal husband, Dr. DL Wallace, of Flower Mound, Texas. You can follow her on Instagram at MKW7th to learn more about her views on Historically Black Colleges and Universities.