Dr. Melva K. Williams, new president & CEO of Huston-Tillotson University. She is set to begin on August 15, 2022.

AUSTIN, TX – Following a national search, the Huston-Tillotson University Board of Trustees has announced the appointment of Melva K. Williams, Ph.D. as the institution’s seventh president and chief executive officer, effective August 15, 2022. She will serve as the second woman president of the institution since its inception, succeeding Dr. Colette Pierce Burnette, who announced her retirement back in December 2021. Williams brings to HT her vast higher education experience as an innovative scholar in positions as chief of staff, vice chancellor and associate dean, managing multiple aspects of students affairs and enrollment management, ranging from athletics to recruitment.

“Dr. Williams’ reputation as visionary leader, utilizing creative approaches to advancing higher education through layers of innovative improvements will position Huston-Tillotson University for the economic and technological advances shaping the Central Texas market,” said Dr. Carol McDonald, HT Board of Trustees Chair.

Prior to coming to HT, Williams held numerous positions within the Southern University System (Louisiana) including, executive associate to the chancellor, assistant vice chancellor and vice chancellor for student affairs and enrollment management at SU-Shreveport (SUSLA), vice chancellor at SU-New Orleans (SUNO), and System Chief of Staff. A former associate dean of College at Centenary College of Louisiana, Williams has concurrently served as a professor, lecturer and board member at several colleges and universities. Recently, she served as the senior director of programming for the Clinton Presidential Center. Additionally, she is the co-founder of the Higher Education Leadership Foundation (H.E.L.F.), a found board member and board president for Magnolia School of Excellence, and is a national spokesperson for emotional intelligence (soft skills) development.

“I am honored and energized to serve as HT’s second female president,” said Williams. “The trust of the Board of Trustees and the HT Presidential Search Committee is very much appreciated, and I look forward to advancing an aggressive agenda that will ensure HT’s continued success.”

Williams earned a doctorate in higher education from Jackson State University, and a master’s in public administration and a bachelor’s degree in mass communications from Grambling State University.

“Dr. Williams has conquered by exemplifying and demonstrating innovative leadership within her higher ed career as chief of staff, vice chancellor, dean, and professor. I commend the Huston-Tillotson Board of Trustees and Presidential Search Committee for selecting a strong dynamic leader who innovates, thrives, and excels in all she does best. Dr. Williams’s wealth of experience, energy, and student-centered drive will be essential to HT under her leadership. I am extremely excited about this tenure of HT’s second female president, and I look forward to observing the successes of Dr. Williams’ journey. Best wishes.”

— Demetrius Johnson Jr., Founder, President & CEO at HBCU Campaign Fund

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 Austin. 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. For more information, visit www.htu.edu.


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