President Joe Biden has appointed actress Taraji P. Henson and the NBA’s Chris Paul to his HBCU advisory board, the White House said in a statement. United Airlines president Brett Hart was also among the 18 members of the President’s board of advisers on HBCUs.
In addition, five presidents of HBCUs were also appointed to the board. They are presidents of Alabama State University, Virginia State University, Norfolk State University in Virginia, Dillard University in New Orleans and Prairie View A&M University in Texas, according to CNN.
The 18 people appointed will join the president of Delaware State University, Tony Allen and Tennessee State University President Glenda Glover, who currently serve as chair and vice chair of the board. The appointment comes after the White House provided $2.7 billion to HBCUs this year.
The White House noted in its statement that the group is made of “qualified and diverse leaders,” adding that naming them to the board “will allow the administration to build on that financial commitment with continued institutional support.”
Henson, a Washington, D.C. native, studied acting at Howard University, an HBCU while Paul is a 12-time NBA All-Star with the Phoenix Suns and a two-time Olympic gold medalist.
Henson has provided several scholarships to Black college students majoring in mental health through her foundation — The Boris Lawrence Henson foundation — since 2018, according to Michigan Chronicle.
“I am excited to announce that President Biden has appointed me to serve on his HBCU Board of Advisors,” 51-year-old Henson wrote on Instagram after her appointment. “Since taking office, the President and Vice President [Kamala] Harris have invested $5.8 Billion in HBCUs and I look forward to working with them to continue efforts to support these important institutions.”
Paul, on the other hand, has served as the President of the National Basketball Players Association. “The twelve-time NBA All-star has actively championed girls’ and women’s basketball and was the recipient of the 2022 Kobe and Gigi Bryant Advocacy Award for his work,” Michigan Chronicle reported.
The HBCU advisory board was created to help HBCUs provide high-quality education and opportunities for Black students.