“As people all together we have to remove the obstacles and not wait on the sideline for someone else to do it, you have to be in the path of change” Marc Burnett urged guests at The University of Tennessee Space Institute’s recent Black History Celebration Program.
Addressing the theme of “Transformation: Effort, Not Chance,” Burnett raised the question of what can we do. He stated that we have to make the effort and that transformations only come through the effort of everyone; it doesn’t happen by chance. He spoke about all the policies and procedures in place pertaining to discrimination and how they change all the time. “It doesn’t make any difference what is changed because change comes from within,” Burnett said.
“We have to come together as all people,” Burnett said. “Don’t care what level it is. When something tragic happens, we have to come together and figure out what we can do to make it better. You have to get up and do the next best thing.” Burnett spoke about his grandfather and urged everyone to listen to their grandparents because they got where they are today because of the past.
Burnett was featured on a Tennessee Crossroads segment where he shared the story of how his painting career began. Being homebound for months after an automobile accident, the gift of a six-color paint set with one small brush from his friends unveiled a talent he only touched on when he was a child. Burnett began to draw and paint on small watercolor cards his wife, Tamelyn, gave him.
Burnett brought several of his paintings and reflected on each one of them. Burnett’s said he considers his work “neighborhood paintings” because each piece is inspired by someone he knew or met or the way life was when he was growing up.
One of his personal favorite pieces is “Marm,” which shows a teacher in a one-room schoolhouse. He said the work is a tribute to his former teaches.
Growing up as a black Baptist and now a pastor himself, many of his works depict people, especially women “in the spirit.”
A native of Alcoa, Tennessee, Marc Burnett has served as Vice President for Student Affairs at Tennessee Technological University since March 1992. He is the second person to hold the position since its creation in 1982. He holds a BS degree in English Journalism, a Master’s degree in Educational Psychology, and an Ed. S. in Administration & Supervision all from Tennessee Tech University.
As the lead Student Affairs administrator, Mr. Burnett works with students, faculty, and staff to create and maintain student development. He oversees policies and programs performed within the Division of Student Affairs which includes: Counseling Center, Dean of Students, Disability Services, Eagle Card, Greek Life, Health Services, Minority Affairs, Orientation and Student Success, Recreation and Fitness Center, Residential Life, Service Learning, Student Activities, University Police, and the Roaden University Center.
Mr. Burnett is also currently Pastor at Gainesboro First Baptist Church in Gainesboro, TN. He has been married for 31 years to Tamelyn Burnett. They have two children, Mario, 29, and Bianca, 24.