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Biden appoints Education Managing Director to Board of Advisors on HBCUs


The Kresge Foundation Education Program Managing Director Bill Moses has long championed and supported Minority Serving Institutions (MSIs) and Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) because of their vital role in nurturing students. Now, thanks to a recent appointment to President Joe Biden’s Board of Advisors on HBCUs, Moses will play an integral role in helping leaders in Washington, D.C. think through how to best service and support these institutions.

The members of the board will work to “increase the capacity of HBCUs to provide the highest-quality education to its students and continue serving as engines of opportunity,” according to the White House.

Joining Moses on the board are:

  • Makola M. Abdullah – President of Virginia State University
  • Javaune Adams-Gaston – President of Norfolk State University,
  • Paige Blake – Native of Prince George’s County, Maryland and junior at Bowie State University
  • Thasunda Brown Duckett – President and CEO of TIAA
  • Willie A. Deese – (retired) Pharmaceutical executive
  • Patrick Cokley – Chief of Organizing Advocacy and Learning at Civic Influencers
  • Monica Goldson – CEO of Prince George’s County Public Schools
  • Brett J. Hart – President of United Airlines
  • Taraji P. Henson – Academy Award-nominated and Golden Globe-winning actor, filmmaker and activist
  • Beverly W. Hogan – Public administrator, educator, community leader and humanitarian
  • Lisa P. Jackson – Vice president of Environment, Policy and Social Initiatives at Apple
  • Shevrin D. Jones – Florida State Senator
  • Walter M. Kimbrough – President of Dillard University
  • Christopher E. Paul – Twelve-time NBA All-Star with the Phoenix Suns, two-time Olympic Gold medalist
  • Quinton T. Ross Jr. – President of Alabama State University
  • Ruth J. Simmons – President of Prairie View A&M University.
  • Janeen Uzzell – CEO of the National Society of Black Engineers (NSBE)

Biden appointed Delaware State University President Tony Allen and Tennessee State University President Glenda Glover as chair and vice chair of the board, and named Dietra Trent as executive director.

“I care so much about historically Black colleges and universities, it’s just such a thrill to know that I’ll be serving with people who also care so much about them,” Moses said.

Biden announced the reestablishment of the HBCU Initiative last year through executive order to “strengthen the capacity of Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) to provide the highest-quality education, increase opportunities for these institutions to participate in and benefit from Federal programs, and ensure that HBCUs can continue to be engines of opportunity.”

Moses said he has long been personally inspired by this work. His interest started as an undergraduate student at Claremont McKenna College in a class on the Holocaust.

When asked to relate the course’s issues to current global affairs, Moses mentioned the then-ongoing apartheid movement, which led him to pursue a Watson Fellowship in South Africa. During his time abroad, Moses asked an activist how he could help the struggle and that conversation inspired him to act on his desires to fight racism closer to home.

This experience prompted Moses to pursue making opportunities in education more accessible to students of diverse backgrounds in the U.S. Moses went on to serve as the director of the Watson Foundation. Originally, his work focused on helping colleges find and nominate students of color for the fellowship before his focus shifted.

“It dawned on me that if I really wanted to get more students of color, I should go to colleges where students of color go to school,” Moses said, “and that’s when I first started looking at historically Black colleges.”

While Kresge’s investment in HBCUs began in the 1950s with small challenge grants to the United Negro College Fund (UNCF), the commitment has significantly grown over the years.

Kresge began to make capital grants directly to HBCUs that led to the $18 million Kresge HBCU Initiative in 1999. In the years that followed, the Education Program continued to work with the UNCF and several HBCUs – support that continues today – to directly fund efforts aimed at improving accreditation outcomes, analyzing the impact of emergency financial aid programs, enhancing governance and leadership, improving campus technology, creating outreach for voter engagement and strategic planning.