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Huston-Tillotson president named Austinite of the Year

Huston-Tillotson University president Dr. Colette Pierce Burnette will retire in June 2022 after seven years with the school. (Colette Pierce Burnette/Facebook)

Huston-Tillotson University President and CEO Dr. Colette Pierce Burnette has been named the 2021 Austinite of the Year by the Austin Chamber of Commerce for her work expanding the school and city leadership.


As the highest annual honor the Chamber awards, Burnette will be recognized at a March 9 “Cheers to the Year” event. The awardee is chosen by the board chair and the president and CEO of the Austin Chamber.

“I am deeply appreciative and eternally grateful to be the recipient of the Greater Austin Chamber of Commerce’s Austinite of the Year award,” Burnette said. “To be recognized in this way is a highlight of my life.”

As she heads into retirement later this year, Burnette is credited with increasing funding for Huston-Tillotson University—a private historically Black university—by more than 55%. Burnette was also able to tackle some of the items on the deferred maintenance list, including remodeling the King-Seabrook Chapel and erecting the first new building on campus since 1974.

Additionally, Burnette is responsible for some partnerships with major companies: Apple partnered with HTU for its African American Male Teacher Initiative and created a manufacturing engineering curriculum and a career progression internship alongside Tesla.

“Upon moving to Austin to serve as the sixth president and CEO of Huston-Tillotson University, I unknowingly embarked upon a wondrous journey that would forever change my life in the most extraordinary, impactful and unimaginable ways,” Burnette said. “I have experienced firsthand the magic of a city of people collectively leaning in to do the hard work necessary to build a beloved community for all—even when it gets hard and uncomfortable to do so.”

Burnette’s activism stretches far beyond the university—the HTU president has also served as a co-chair for the Mayor’s Task Force on Institutional Racism and Systemic Inequities, chair for the Central Texas Collective for Racial Equity and treasurer for the Independent Colleges and Universities of Texas.

Burnette continues to serve on boards and committees for the Greater Austin Area Black Chamber, North American Association of Methodist Schools, Austin Community Foundation, IDEA Schools, Frontier Bank, Greater Austin Urban League , Big Brothers Big Sisters of Central Texas Advisory Council, Urban Roots Advisory Council and Waterloo Greenway Board.

“Throughout (Burnette’s) tenure as President and CEO, she has worked tirelessly to ensure the students, faculty and staff have economic opportunities that help drive our community’s achievements,” Austin Chamber president and CEO Laura Huffman said. “She has played an integral role in the development of Austin’s higher education system, particularly for Austinites of color, and although she is retiring from this role, we know her energy, intellect and influence will be fundamental to Austin’s growth for years to come.”

The celebration will take place at the Austin Marriott Downtown on March 9, starting at 4:30 p.m. General admission will cost $125 per ticket.

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Tito's releases (not so?) ugly sweater line for the holidays, profits to charity

Tito's Handmade Vodka

Show your love for Tito's and for the community this year with a wide selection of not that ugly, uglyish, ugly, uglier, and ugliest holiday sweaters.

There's lots choose from, and plenty of accessories like scarves and socks, plus gear for your dog, too.

All of the items can be purchased online or at the Love, Tito’s Retail Store in Austin, TX. 100% of all net proceeds from online or in-store purchases go to one of the nonprofits we’ve teamed up with.

Click here to see the entire collection in the Tito's store.

Mac and Cheese Fest and Free Art Exhibit
Waterloo Greenway, Good Vibrations Installation


🗓 All weekend

🎨 Creek Show Art Exhibit

Check out this highly anticipated art exhibition with illuminated art along Waller Creek. Tickets are free and the event includes food vendors, dazzling lights, live music, and hands-on activities

All weekend 6 p.m - 10 p.m | 📍Waterloo Park

✨ Mozart's Light Show

This iconic holiday tradition lights up for the first time this holiday season starting this weekend! Reserve your spot for an enchanting light and sound performance, delicious hot cocoa, sweet treats, and some overall fun with your friends or family. The show runs till January 6th.

6 p.m and 9 p.m | 📍Mozart's Coffee Roasters - 3825 Lake Austin Blvd, Austin, TX 78703

🗓 Saturday

🥊 Kickboxing in the Park

This fitness event is free and open to the public. Get your morning started right with a "Fitness in the park" class for kickboxing! The class will be led by certified instructors and is a great way to get a cardio workout in while also honing your self-defense skills.

10 a.m - 11 a.m | 📍 Metz Park

🛍 The Front Market

Support local LBGTQ+ and female artists at this outdoor market with over 150 vendors. Get your holiday shopping out of the way at this event, with vendors for food trucks, handmade goods, raffles, hands on workshops and activities, and more.

11 a.m - 5 p.m | 📍Ani's Day and Night - 7107 E Riverside Drive, Austin, TX 78741

🗓 Sunday

🧀 Mac and Cheese Fest

Did someone say cheese?! If you're like me and always willing to get your hands on a bowl of mac and cheese, then this event is for you. Check out the Mac and Cheese festival happening this weekend to decide which vendor has. the best mac and cheese for yourself, and enjoy the bar with creative cocktails while you're at it. Tickets start at $45.

11 a.m - 3 p.m | 📍Lantana Place - 7415 Southwest Parkway