History Breaker: Meet the First Black Woman President and CEO of Indianapolis Museum and Art

Dr. Colette Pierce Burnette is an American educational administrator and an industrial engineer. She is the new president and chief executive officer of Newfields in Indianapolis.   

Burnette who has served as the president and CEO of Huston-Tillotson University,  

As president, she grew the university’s endowment and launched new academic programs and new partnerships with companies including Apple, Indeed, Texas Parks & Wildlife, and Merck.

Newfields was formed in 2017 when the Indianapolis Museum of Art announced it would unite all parts of its campus under the name Newfields, A Place for Nature and the Arts.

She has been a key figure in elevating the institution that when the position of the president became vacant, she was considered the best fit.

Burnette was born in 1957 in Cleveland, Ohio and grew up in the inner city of Cleveland, and attended a Black public school,  John F. Kennedy High School.

She was named the 2021 Austinite of the Year by the city’s Chamber of Commerce for her dedication to education.

Burnette earns an Ed.D. in Higher Education Administration from the University of Pennsylvania. A Master’s degree in Administration from  Georgia College. Bachelor’s degree in Engineering from Ohio State University, and graduated from the management development program at the Harvard Graduate School of Education.

Burnette will officially begin her role as the new CEO on Aug. 1. 

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