Howard University has announced that U.S. Congressman James E. Clyburn, will be serving as the university’s orator for its 155th Opening Convocation, an annual tradition that officially signals the beginning of the academic year.

Congressman Clyburn is the Majority Whip in the United States House of Representatives. He previously served in the post from 2007-2011 and served as assistant Democratic leader from 2011-2019. 

When he came to Congress in 1993 to represent South Carolina’s sixth congressional district, Congressman Clyburn was elected co-president of his freshman class and quickly rose through leadership ranks. He was subsequently elected Chairman of the Congressional Black Caucus, Vice Chair, and later Chair, of the House Democratic Caucus.

Although Congressman Clyburn did not attend an HBCU, he is an avid supporter of the institutions.

Congressman Clyburn has worked with colleagues to secure over $4.9 billion in direct aid to HBCUs and minority institutions and over $1.6 billion in debt relief to HBCUs through the Federal HBCU Capital Financing Program and other COVID-19 response legislation like the American Rescue Plan Act.

In 2019, He reintroduced his legislation to reauthorize the Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU) Historic Preservation program, an initiative he has championed his entire career in Congress. The passing of this bill provided $10 million annually for seven years to ensure the preservation of HBCUs across the nation. It also ensures the protection of the great legacy of HBCUs for years to come.

His efforts have restored scores of historic buildings and sites on the campuses of historically Black colleges and universities. His legislation created the South Carolina National Heritage Corridor and the Gullah/Geechee Cultural Heritage Corridor, elevated the Congaree National Monument to a National Park, and established the Reconstruction Era National Monument in South Carolina’s Lowcountry.

The Opening Convocation ceremony will take place on Friday, September 16. at 11 a.m. in Cramton Auditorium and will live-streamed for public viewing at: