This past Thursday (March 31), President Joe Biden announced that he would be appointing NBA star Chris Paul and actress Taraji P. Henson to his HBCU board, which consists of 18 members and is in place to fulfill the HBCU Initiative. As explained on the Department of Education website, said initiative is “a Government-wide policymaking effort to eliminate barriers HBCUs face in providing the highest-quality education to a growing number of students.”
In addition to Paul and Henson, five HBCU presidents are also joining the board of advisors — Alabama State University’s Quinton Ross, Virginia State University’s Makola Abdullah, Norfolk State University‘s Javaune Adams-Gaston, Dillard University’s Walter M. Kimbrough, and Prairie View A&M University’s Ruth Simmons. Glenda Glover, president of Tennessee State University, and Tony Allen, president of Delaware State University, are the chair and vice chair of the board, respectively.
The appointments and mission for the HBCU board of advisors were further explained via a White House press release:
“The Biden-Harris Administration is committed to supporting the vital mission of HBCUs. Through the American Rescue Plan, grant funding, and by forgiving capital improvement debt of many these institutions, the Biden-Harris Administration has already committed more than $5.8 billion in support. Reestablishing the White House HBCU Initiative – and appointing qualified and diverse individuals to the Board – will allow the administration to build on that financial commitment with continued institutional support.”
In related news, REVOLT previously reported on a docu-series that Paul was created to spotlight the struggles that HBCU athletes endure when competing with prospects at larger institutions. Back in October, ESPN+ premiered the final product, “Why Not Us: FAMU Football,” which was centered around the Florida A&M University Rattlers in the midst of their first season in the Southwestern Athletic Conference.