Two stars with roots to HBCUs are among several appointees to a new presidential initiative. Get the full story by Nicole Chavez at CNN below.

Actress Taraji P. Henson, left, and NBA star Chris Paul, right, are set to be appointed by President Joe Biden to his board of advisers on historically Black colleges and universities. (Credit: Getty Images)

President Joe Biden will announce Thursday that he is appointing more than a dozen top education leaders, celebrities and athletes to his board of advisers on historically Black colleges and universities, the White House said.

Actress Taraji P. Henson, NBA star Chris Paul, and United Airlines president Brett Hart are among the 18 members of the President’s board of advisers on HBCUs. Paul was until last year the longtime head of the National Basketball Players Association.

The presidents of five HBCUs – Alabama State University, Virginia State University, Norfolk State University in Virginia, Dillard University in New Orleans and Prairie View A&M University in Texas – have also been appointed to the board.

Biden’s move comes weeks after his administration touted a $2.7 billion in funding from the American Rescue Plan that was provided to HBCUs over the past year and as HBCUs continue working to keep campuses safe after dozens received bomb threats in recent months.

The group is made of “qualified and diverse leaders” and appointing them to the board “will allow the administration to build on that financial commitment with continued institutional support,” the White House said. 

The 18 appointees will join Tony Allen, the president of Delaware State University, and Tennessee State University President Glenda Glover, who currently serve as chair and vice chair of the board.

The board “will be an eclectic mix of the talent and commitment that defines Historically Black College and Universities (HBCUs) and those who recognize our tremendous value in higher education and in a smaller, more connected global community,” Allen said in a statement.

He added that Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris have been “clear on their dedication to HBCUs in word and deed.”

More support for HBCUs has been part of Biden’s domestic policy agenda since his campaign for president. Last year, he proposed increased funding for HBCUs but his full proposal was not passed by Congress. 

Earlier this week, the UNCF (United Negro College Fund)called on Congress to “make no reductions” that could impact HBCUs in Biden’s fiscal year 2023 budget proposal, which includes increased funding for HBCUs, tribally controlled colleges and universities (TCUs), minority-serving institutions (MSIs) and community colleges.

“We are asking Congress to make no reductions but live up to the President’s funding numbers this year. Our institutions deserve it, and so do our students,” Michael L. Lomax, president and CEO of UNCF. said in a statement.