Colette Pierce Burnette
President and Chief Executive Officer
Dr. Colette Pierce Burnette, a native of Cleveland, Ohio, joined Huston-Tillotson University as President and Chief Executive Officer July 1, 2015. Dr. Burnette is an experienced leader in higher education with a deep commitment to student success and advocacy for education as the great equalizer. Her experience includes serving as interim President at Pierce College in Puyallup, Washington; the Vice President for Administration and Chief Financial Officer at Central State University in Wilberforce, Ohio; Vice President for Information Technology and Services and Chief Information Officer at Central State University; 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.
Dr. Burnette has combined her intelligence quotient (IQ), emotional intelligence (EQ), entrepreneurial spirit, and technical knowledge to forge successful careers in engineering, information technology, and education. Before transitioning into higher education, Dr. Burnette worked as a Computer Analyst at The Washington Post, was an Operations Support Engineer at Proctor and Gamble, held the position of Director of Information Systems at Neighborhood Reinvestment Corp., and ran her own computer consulting firm, CompuMent.
A strong proponent of civic and community engagement, Dr. Burnette served as co-chair of Mayor Adler’s taskforce on Institutional Racism and Systematic Inequalities and hosted the “No Risk, No Reward: Taking The Risk To Do What You Want With Your Career” panel discussion during the 2015 Texas Conference for Women. Nationally, Dr. Burnette serves on the Board of Directors for the United Negro College Fund and locally, Dr. Burnette serves as co-chair for the Mayor of Austin’s Task Force on Institutional Racism and Systemic Inequities, a member of the Executive Committee of the Austin Area Research Organization (AARO), on the steering committee for My Brother’s Keeper Austin, and the advisory council of Big Brothers Big Sisters of Central Texas. She also sits on the Advisory of Girl Scouts Council of Central Texas, Board of Independent Colleges & Universities of Texas, Inc, Texas Association of Developing Colleges, Leadership Austin, Austin Area Urban League, IDEA Public Schools, Austin Community Foundation Board of Governors, E3 Alliance, Greater Austin Black Chamber of Commerce, YMCA. Nationally, Pierce Burnette serves on The Ohio State University’s College of Engineering Advisory Committee and the National Association of Schools and Colleges of the United Methodist Church Board. She is a member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc., Austin (TX) Chapter of The Links, Inc., the National Society of Black Engineers, and Texnikoi.
Her many honors include The Ohio State University Outstanding Engineering Alumnus Award, United States Army Distinguished Civilian Volunteer Service Medal Award, Thurgood Marshall Foundation Chief Information Officer of the Year Award, Outstanding Student Advocate Award, Inductee into the Austin Women’s Hall of Fame, Dayton Business Journal Chief Fiscal Officer of the Year Award, and the National Diversity Council Glass Ceiling Award, Seeding Foundation, Fab Five, and the Community Hero Award from Anti-Defamation League of Austin.
Dr. Burnette earned her Master of Science Degree in Administration with honors from Georgia College in Milledgeville in 1983 after completing a Bachelor of Science Degree in Industrial and Systems Engineering from The Ohio State University in Columbus in 1980. In 2003, Dr. Burnette graduated from the Harvard Graduate School’s Education Management Development Program. She also earned an Ed.D. in Higher Education Administration from the University of Pennsylvania in 2015.
Dr. Burnette is married to Daarel (Retired LTC), and they have two adult children (Daarel II of Washington, DC and Daana of New York, NY).