Dr. Colette Pierce Burnette to Receive Durstan R McDonald Teaching Award


On Monday, February 21, 2022, at its midday Eucharist service, the Faculty of Seminary of the Southwest will present the 2022 Durstan R McDonald Teaching Award to Dr. Colette Pierce Burnette, President and Chief Executive Officer at Huston-Tillotson University.

Burnette, who recently announced her retirement at the end of this academic year, has been recognized often for her fierce advocacy of Huston-Tillotson University and Historically Black Colleges and Universities, including being named Austinite of the Year by the Austin Chamber of Commerce in January of 2022.

Established upon the retirement of Dean Emeritus Durstan R McDonald in 2002, the McDonald Teaching Award is given each year by the Faculty of Seminary of the Southwest in recognition of exceptional teaching in the spirit of the award’s namesake.

“It is meaningful to honor this distinguished educator, Dr. Colette Pierce Burnette with the name of our beloved friend and former colleague, Dusty McDonald,” said the Very Rev. Cynthia Briggs Kittredge, Dean and President. “We look forward to welcoming her to our campus and recognizing her outstanding contributions in education with this meaningful award.”

Burnette, the first female president of the combined institutions of Huston and Tillotson Colleges, has a long background in higher education, and has displayed a commitment to the growth and vibrancy of the Austin community well beyond the Huston-Tillotson campus. She has displayed broad civic leadership, including serving as co-chair for the Mayor’s Task Force on Institutional Racism and Systemic Inequities, and serving on multiple non-profit boards. 

She is credited with revitalizing Huston-Tillotson University, notably increasing the university’s endowment by 55% and leading it through the pandemic with her trademark ‘firm but caring’ style of leadership.

The McDonald Teaching Award will be presented to Burnette during the Monday Eucharist service at 11:45am on February 21, 2022. The service and presentation will be livestreamed to the Southwest Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/myssw/live