AUSTIN, TX– Following a gift of $800,000 Huston-Tillotson University, a historically black college located in Austin, Texas, will become the only institution of higher learning in Central Texas, the fourth HBCU in the country, and the 196th college/university in the world to earn the coveted title of an All-Steinway School.

According to a press release from the university, the anonymous gift was recently contributed to the University to help complete its year-long fundraising campaign to purchase fifteen Steinway Pianos.

“Our music department, led by superior faculty, is known for producing musicians of distinction for careers in a variety of professional fields including performance and music education. These best in class instruments are the perfect complement to the talented and gifted musicians on our campus,” Dr. Colette Pierce Burnette, President and CEO of Huston-Tillotson University, said. “Becoming an All-Steinway School demonstrates our full commitment to excellence by providing the finest to our students and faculty. I am very excited about the addition of Steinway Pianos to our music department, as this is another step to being the IDEAL university.”

The reputation of the Steinway Pianos is known around the world, with 98 percent of all pianists performing with orchestras worldwide that choose the Steinway piano exclusively. For more than 160 years, Steinway & Sons has been dedicated to making the finest pianos in the world, setting the uncompromising standard for sound, touch, beauty, and investment value.

“Huston-Tillotson University has made a firm commitment to providing new opportunities for students and we are tremendously proud to welcome them into our family of All-Steinway Schools,” said Ron Losby, CEO of Steinway Musical Instruments. “I can assure that the same pride, passion and purpose so very evident on the campus in Austin echoes through the halls of the Steinway factory in Astoria, where 300 craftsmen and women are dedicated to making the world’s best pianos. We offer hearty congratulations on attaining this remarkable milestone and look forward to celebrating our shared vision of excellence.”

The music program got its start when Samuel Huston College and Tillotson College originated in the early 1900’s. The two departments eventually combined when Huston-Tillotson College was formed by the merger of Samuel Huston College and Tillotson College in 1952. The addition of 15 Steinway Pianos is an unprecedented complement to Austin’s oldest insitution of higher learning and only HBCU. This places the University’s already flagship program in a category with other esteemed music programs around the country such as The Juilliard School, Yale University School of Music and Oberlin College Conservatory.

The legacy of HT’s great concert choir directors and accompanists lives through the establishment of the Marcet Hines King Endowed Chair Professorship. The choir’s accomplishments are also memorialized through the Adams/Williams/Jones Endowed Scholarship, established by Nancy Crayton Jones in memory of choir directors Bert Adams, Nathaniel Williams, and her late husband Vernal Jones

Huston-Tillotson University officials anticipate that almost all of the 15 Steinway Pianos will be delivered and installed on campus by Charter Day, which is the University’s 142nd anniversary celebrations, on Friday, October 27, 2017. The University plans to hold a concert to celebrate the installation of the Steinway Pianos on October 28. More details will be announced in the coming weeks.

AUSTIN, TX – After a six-month planning phase, UNCF announced Huston-Tillotson University (a historically black university  located in Austin, Texas) as one of 24 colleges and universities that will receive five-year grants totaling $35.3 million for the UNCF Career Pathways Initiative (CPI), a transformative effort to design and implement programs to improve employment outcomes for graduates.

“This CPI opportunity will truly enhance the work we do every day here at Huston-Tillotson University, and will help us achieve our million by providing the resources necessary to give our students an excellent college to career pathway experience,” said Dr. Colette Pierce Burnette, President and CEO of Huston-Tillotson University. “This grant will prepare our students to become powerful additions to the nontraditional workplaces and spaces where they will continue to find success after college. I am extremely grateful to UNCF for their continual support of our mission.”

Made possible through a grant from Lily  Endowment Inc., the UNCF Career Pathways Initiative (CPI) is a unique pilot program for select historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs) and predominately  black institutions (PBIs) that is helping them enhance career readiness for their 54,000 enrolled students. Many of these students will be the first in their families to earn college degrees. The majorities of students are from low-to-moderate income families and must receive federal financial aid to pursue their undergraduate studies.

At Huston-Tillotson, CPI will provide a seamless path from college to career. This July, approximately 60 incoming freshmen considering majoring in Communications, Kinesiology, Computer Science or Business Administration will join the University’s Summer Bridge Program; two gateway courses specifically designed to introduce those students to what will eventually become four years of related CPI work. As part of Summer Bridge, students will be assigned to a Career Coach, complete career assessments and workshops, participate in leadership building exercises, and work with their assigned Career Couch to launch a startup company.

Earlier this year, Huston-Tillotson University submitted a proposal that reflects a commitment to strengthening career advising and mentoring, enhancing curricula, and supporting integrated co-curricular engagement. As part of CPI, the selected institutions will develop a range of academic programs, student internships, industry partnerships, specialty certifications, and faculty development as they forge a new model for career readiness.

A complete list of colleges and universities receiving the grants can be viewed here.

“These colleges and universities show promise in  significantly addressing the urgent challenges facing African American college students and graduates.” said Dr. Michael L. Lomax, UNCF president and CEO. “We heartily congratulate Hust0n-Tillotson University and the 23 other institutions chosen to lead this important work.”

UNCF launched CPI in December 2015 through a rigorous and competitive multi-phased grant process that targeted 87 eligible public and private HBCUs and PBIs. In the first phase, UNCF made planning grants to 30 institutions. In the final phase, UNCF has chosen 24 colleges and universities for implementation grants. Of those schools, 15 institutions will receive individual awards ranging from $1 millions to $1.5 million. Nine of the institutions have been selected for three cluster grants, in which each cluster of three institutions will collaborate intentionally to achieve their shared outcomes. Each cluster will receive up to $6 million.


About Huston-Tillotson University

Huston-Tillotson University is Austin’s oldest institution of higher education. Huston-Tillotson awards undergraduates, four-year degrees in business, education, the humanities, natural sciences, social sciences, science and technology. A multi-cultural, multi-ethnic, and multi-faith institution,  the University welcomes students of all ages, races and religions. To learn more about Huston-Tillotson University, visit


About Lilly Endowment Inc.

Lily Endowment Inc. is a private philanthropic foundation created in 1937 by three members of the Lilly family –  J.K. Lilly Sr. and sons J.K. Jr. and Eli –  through gifts of stock in their pharmaceutical business, Eli Lily and Company. Although those gifts remain the financial bedrock of the Endowment, the Endowment is a separate entity from the company, with a distinct governing board, staff, and location. In keeping with its founders’ wishes, the Endowment supports the causes of community development, educations and religion. Although it maintains a special commitment to its hometown, Indianapolis, and home state Indiana, it does support the efforts of national significance particularly in the field of religion and on a invitational basis disaster relief and recovery efforts and programs that enhance higher education opportunities for African American, Latinos and Native Americans across the country. More information can be found at


About UNCF

UNCF (United Negro College Fund) is the nation’s largest and most effective minority education organization. To serve youth, the community and the nation, UNCF supports students’ educations and development through scholarships and other programs, strengthens in 37 member colleges and universities, and advocates for the importance of minority education and college readiness. UNCF institutions and other historically black colleges and universities are highly effective, awarding nearly 20 percent of African American baccalaureate degrees. UNCF awards more than $100 million in scholarships annually and administers more than 400 programs, including scholarship, internship and fellowship, mentoring, summer enrichment, and curriculum and faculty development programs. Today, UNCF supports more than 60,000 students at more than 1,100 colleges and universities across the country. Its logo features the UNCF torch of leadership in education and its widely recognized trademark: A mind is a terrible thing to waste. Learn more at, or for continuous news and updates, follow UNCF on Twitter, @UNCF and #UNCFCPI