Dr. Colette Pierce Burnette

Dr. Colette Pierce Burnette becomes the first female president of the merged Huston-Tillotson University and only the second female president in the institution’s 140-year history.

Dr. Pierce Burnette is an experienced leader in higher education with a deep commitment to student success. In 2012, she served as interim president at Pierce College in Puyallup, WA, leading the college within a district environment and working collaboratively with executive leadership to serve more than 30,000 students each year. Dr. Pierce Burnette had an extensive career at Central State University in Wilberforce, Ohio, from 1999 – 2012 that scaled to vice president for administration and CFO where she provided financial, analytical, physical plant, auxiliary services, capital construction and human resources leadership to achieve mission-based goals. In addition, at Central State University, Dr. Pierce Burnette served as vice president for information technology and chief information officer.

She earned her master of science degree in administration with honors from Georgia College in Milledgeville, GA, in 1983 after completing a bachelor of science degree in industrial and systems engineering from Ohio State University in Columbus, OH, in 1980. In 2003, Dr. Pierce Burnette was accepted and graduated from the Harvard Graduate School’s Education Management Development Program. She earned an Ed.D. in higher education administration at the University of Pennsylvania.

Dr. Pierce Burnette said, “I am deeply honored to serve as the sixth president of Huston-Tillotson University. When I stepped on the grounds of this campus and interacted with the distinguished faculty, administrators, alumni and bright and engaging students, I could see myself here. HT has a rich and remarkable history of preparing students for careers that enhance our society and world. The diverse student population, enhancement of STEM offerings, the future Community Health and Wellness Center, and this beautiful campus are just some of the reasons why I see Huston-Tillotson as a truly special place.”

Dr. Pierce Burnette is the mother of two children Daarel II, a journalist in Memphis, TN, and Daana, a public relations professional in New York, NY. She is married to Dr. Daarel Burnette, a proficient administrator and consultant in higher education finance and fiscal leadership. She is affiliated with many organizations and has membership in Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc.