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Dr. Daarel Burnette Named CFO (Cohort 7)

President William B. Bynum Jr., Ph.D. has named Dr. Daarel Burnette as the next Chief Financial Officer (CFO) at Jackson State University. His effective date of employment is March 1.

Burnette has previously served at Central State University (CSU) as vice president for administration and CFO, where he was able to increase CSU’s cash reserves from $500,000 in 2012 to over $7 million by 2016. Through this accomplishment, he helped to remove CSU from Ohio’s Fiscal Watch List.

At JSU, he will be charged with managing all financial services at the institution.

“Dr. Burnette has a well-established 20-year career in managing finances in the private sector and higher education,” said Bynum. “Throughout his career, he has made innovations using best practices in fiscal affairs through utility cost savings measures, tuition and fees, construction, and auxiliary services.”

Burnette replaces Howard Merlin, who served as CFO for the past year.

“We would like to thank Howard for his service to Jackson State University,” said Bynum. “We wish him well as he returns to his consulting business assisting tech startups.”

Previously, Burnette has held the following positions:finance director, National Underground Railroad and Freedom Center; vice president of finance and administration, Grambling State University; interim vice chancellor of business and finance, Winston-Salem State University, and acting vice president/CFO at Stillman College.

In 2001, he retired from the United States Air Force as a lieutenant colonel.

Some of his accomplishments include initiatives to keep undergraduate tuition and fees flat which propelled CSU as Ohio’s first and most affordable University for both in-state and out-of-state students; debt mediation programs for current and former students at Central State University and Stillman College; and year-end dollar savings and revenue surpluses, which were used to help strengthen faculty and staff research capacity, modernize campus infrastructures and improve academic quality, including excellence in first-year student retention, course completion, and graduation rates, among numerous other accomplishments.

He also led CSU’s negotiations with the U.S. Department of Education Capital Financing Program to acquire residential halls from a private developer. These acquisitions helped Central State generate an additional $500,000 in auxiliary programs revenue streams. During his time at CSU, campus utility dollar spending was reduced by over $1.5 million annually, and he secured a $16.2 million energy performance bond. The funds were used to replace an antiquated centralized steam plant structure.

His professional affiliations include American Association of State Colleges and Universities – Millennium Leadership Protégé program, Hampton University Executive Leadership Summit graduate, American Association of State Colleges and Universities Protégé, National Association of African American Studies, Miami Valley Research Park – member and treasurer, American Educational Research Association, Association for the Study of Higher Education, National Association of College and University Business Officers, and a life member of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Incorporated.

He holds a Bachelor of Science degree in business administration and finance from Morehouse College, a Master of Business Administration degree from Georgia College and State University, and a Doctorate of Philosophy in urban higher education leadership from Jackson State University.

A native of Fort Walton Beach, Fla., he is married to Dr. Colette Pierce Burnette, president of Houston Tillotson University. They have three children – Marcus, Daarel II, and Daana.