President Joe Biden recently announced the appointment of 18 celebrities, academic leaders, and athletes to the Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) board of advisors. Among those named were actress Taraji P. Henson, NBA star Chris Paul, various business executives and five HBCU presidents. Supporting HBCUs was a major component of Biden’s 2020 presidential campaign platform, and since taking office, his administration has secured billions in funding for HBCUs through the American Rescue Plan. These funds have been used, in part, to help the schools and their students deal with the financial hardships brought on by the pandemic.

“HBCUs play a vital role in providing educational opportunities, scholarship growth, and a sense of community for students,” stated a White House news brief. “HBCU graduates are barrier-breaking public servants, scientists, artists, lawyers, engineers, educators, business owners, and leaders. For generations, HBCUs have been advancing intergenerational economic mobility for Black families and communities, developing vital academic research, and making our country more prosperous and equitable.”

Announcing her appointment on social media, Henson, who is a graduate of Howard University, said that she is excited to serve on the advisory board. “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.”

Though Paul is a graduate of Wake Forest University, he has demonstrated a strong commitment to raising awareness about HBCUs. Growing up in North Carolina, he said that he frequented the campuses of both Winston Salem University and North Carolina A&T State University. In his professional career, Paul consistently sports apparel from these and a host of other HBCUs in his pre and post-game outfits. In an interview with CBS News, he said that his appreciation for these educational institutions stems from their history. “For me, I was the only person in my family who didn’t attend an HBCU, and so as I got older, I just started to dig into it a little bit more… I just want to make sure everyone understands that HBCUs are not less than, they’re very capable and important to our history, to our culture, to everything.”

We congratulate all of the HBCU advisory board appointees. If you would like to add your well wishes, we invite you to do so in the comments below.

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