Institutional leaders, elected officials, advocates and other supporters of the nation’s historically Black colleges and universities (HBCUs) were in attendance Tuesday for the United Negro College Fund’s (UNCF) inaugural State of the HBCU Address, which put forth a comprehensive legislative agenda for Congressional members to further support HBCUs and their capacity to be engines of socioeconomic mobility for the students they serve.

During the address, UNCF president and CEO Dr. Michael L. Lomax called on federal policymakers to make significant investments in HBCU infrastructure and innovation, reform financial aid and evaluate regional accreditors’ treatment of HBCUs. UNCF also released its new Congressional Honor Roll, a list that currently recognizes 59 members of Congress who go above and beyond in their policymaking and support for HBCU success.

“The state of our HBCUs is resilient,” Lomax said. “In spite of obstacles and barriers, assaults and attacks, underinvestment and devaluation … they persist.”