On Thursday, President Joe Biden appointed over a dozen new members to the White House board of advisors on Historically Black Colleges and Universities. Along with several representatives from academia and other industries, two notable new board members were the Empire actor Taraji P. Henson, and NBA star Chris Paul.


Presidents from five HBCUs were also appointed to the board, and they were from Virginia State University, Alabama State University, Norfolk State University in Virginia, Dillard University in New Orleans and Prairie View A&M University in Texas. They will be joining chair Tony Allen, who is president of Delaware State University, and vice-chair Glenda Glover, president of Tennessee State University, as voices of HBCUs on the board.

Taraji P. Henson, a nominee for Academy and Primetime Emmy Awards, attended two HBCUs, eventually graduating with a drama degree from Howard University. Chris Paul attended Wake Forest University, which is not an HBCU, and dropped out after his sophomore year to hire an agent and go professional in the NBA. He was also President of the National Basketball Player’s Association from 2013 to 2021.


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Funding HBCUs was a key element of Biden’s presidential campaign. The Biden administration was able to pass $2.7 billion in funding to HBCUs through the American Rescue Plan, but reps for the colleges are calling on Congress to increase budgets further. “We are asking Congress to make no reductions but live up to the President’s funding numbers this year. Our institutions deserve it, and so do our students,” Michael L. Lomax, President of the United Negro College Fund said.

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