President Joe Biden has appointed Academy Award nominated actress Taraji P. Henson and 12-time NBA All-Star and two-time Olympic gold champion Chris Paul to the President’s Board of Advisors on HBCUs to improve and support Historically Black Colleges and Universities.
Henson is a graduate of Howard University, a historically black school, which is also the alma mater of Vice President Harris. While Paul did not attend an HBCU, he has long advocated for the schools.
According to the official White House release, “The President’s Board will advance the goal of the HBCU Initiative, established by the Carter Administration, to increase the capacity of HBCUs to provide the highest-quality education to its students and continue serving as engines of opportunity.”
Biden announced that he would reestablish the HBCU Initiative last year.
Henson took to her Instagram page to announce her appointment last week, sharing that she is estactic about working with President Biden and Vice President Harris to further support HBCUs.
“I am excited to announce that President Biden has appointed me to serve on his HBCU Board of Advisors,” Henson said. “Since taking office, the President and Vice President Harris have invested $5.8 Billion in HBCUs, and I look forward to working with them to continue efforts to support these important institutions,” she said in social media post.
Paul, who has long been committed to raising awareness and support for historically black colleges and universities, also shared the news of his selection to the president’s board on Instagram.
“Incredibly humbled to be appointed to President Biden’s HBCU Board of Advisors. Looking forward to working with this amazing group to continue to elevate these historical institutions,” he wrote.
Henson and Paul will join Dr. Tony Allen, president of Delaware State University, and Dr. Glenda Glover, president of Tennessee State University, who are serving, respectively, as chairperson and vice-chairperson of the board. The presidents of Virginia State University, Norfolk State University, Alabama State University, Prairie View A&M University, and Dillard University will also join the board.
Lisa Jackson, the first Black administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency during the Obama administration, and United Airlines President Brett Hart will both join the board. Paige Blake, a 20-year-old junior at Bowie State University, an HBCU in Maryland, will also be appointed by Biden.
According to the White House, the Biden-Harris administration has pledged more than $5.8 billion in support of historically Black schools and institutions through a combination of pandemic relief cash, grants, and canceling capital improvement debt. The appointments of diverse board members are intended to aid the adiministation to build on its financial committment and institutional supprot of HBCU’s.