WASHINGTON, DC – Today, President Obama signed an executive order, which can be viewed here, renewing the White House Initiative on Historically Black Colleges and Universities in the White House East Room. This event demonstrates the President’s strong appreciation for the historic role these institutions have played in educating our citizens and the Administration’s commitment to assisting HBCUs with accomplishing their mission.
Historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs) have made historic and ongoing contributions to the general welfare and prosperity of our country. Established by visionary leaders, America’s HBCUs have, for over 150 years, produced many of the Nation’s leaders in business, government, academia, and the military and have provided generations of American men and women with hope and educational opportunity.
The Nation’s 105 HBCUs are located in 20 states, the District of Columbia, and the U.S. Virgin Islands, and serve more than 300,000 undergraduate and graduate students. These institutions continue to be important engines of economic growth and community service, and they are proven ladders of intergenerational advancement for men and women of all ethnic, racial, and economic backgrounds, especially African-Americans.
Among its provisions the Executive Order:
• Establishes the White House Initiative on Historically Black Colleges and Universities to be housed in the Department of Education. Headed by Dr. John Wilson, the Initiative will lead the Obama Administration’s work to partner with federal departments, agencies and offices, as well as other public and private partners to focus on five key tasks: strengthening the capacity of HBCUs to participate in Federal programs; fostering private-sector initiatives and public-private partnerships that would include promoting specific areas and centers of academic research and programmatic excellence; improving the availability, dissemination, and quality of information concerning HBCUs to inform public policy and practice; sharing administrative and programmatic practices within the HBCU community for the benefit of all; and exploring new ways of improving the relationship between the Federal Government and HBCUs.
• Establishes a President’s Board of Advisors on HBCUs that will advise the Obama Administration on matters pertaining to strengthening the educational capacity of these institutions.