Statement on the President’s Board of Advisors for the White House Initiative on Historically Black Colleges and Universities

Sept. 21, 2018 -- The following statement is attributable to North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University Chancellor Harold L. Martin Sr.:

“For nearly 30 years, the President’s Board of Advisors for the White House Initiative on Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) has provided counsel to five U.S. presidents in support of higher education institutions that have played vital roles in the lives of millions of students and families, in countless communities and in the success of our nation and economy. Today, HBCUs need the advocacy and leadership of this advisory panel more than ever, and in that spirit I am pleased to join my colleagues on this board.

“More than 180 years after the establishment of the first HBCU, our campuses are bustling with growing energy, as increasingly diverse students seek out the knowledge and preparation to compete in an ever-changing global marketplace. HBCUs comprise 3 percent of U.S. colleges and universities, yet produce 27 percent of African American students in high-demand STEM fields, according to the National Science Foundation. Studies further show HBCUs are exceptional leaders in social mobility, graduating low-income students into the top earnings quintile as working adults, and have a collective annual economic impact of nearly $15 billion, generating more than 134,000 jobs for local and regional economies – data that we know represent a conservative estimate of our actual footprint. Yet, our institutions face disproportionate challenges in funding, facilities and equity relative to other higher education campuses across the country. HBCUs have earned and deserve broader support and stronger investment.

“The needs of North Carolina A&T State University to continue to be competitive as a land grant, doctoral, higher research activity institution, as well as the needs of HBCUs across the country, will not wait. It is critical that we take advantage of opportunities to educate and advise decision makers on matters of public investment, resource allocation, policy, equity and, for some of our institutions, fundamental viability. Nationally and globally, growing demands for highly educated, well prepared graduates, particularly in STEM disciplines, are creating new opportunities for HBCU graduates, while research and innovations coming out of our centers, institutes and laboratories are filling an expanding range of marketplace needs. I look forward to focusing on these essential issues with my colleagues.”