Biden appoints Delaware State University president Tony Allen to lead HBCU advisory board
President Joe Biden will appoint Delaware State University president Tony Allen to chair the President’s Board of Advisors on Historically Black Colleges and Universities.
The board advances the goal of the HBCU Initiative, established by the Carter Administration, to improve the quality and capacity of HBCUs.
"This president knows firsthand the unmistakable value of HBCUs to our country and the more than 350,000 students we graduate each year, representing nearly 20% of all Black graduates in the country," Allen said in a statement. "He is also aware of the economic engines our institutions are in their home communities, generating $17 billion in GDP each year."
The Biden Administration, through the American Rescue Plan and HBCU Capital Finance Project, has increased funding to the 100-plus HBCU institutions.
Allen has frequently championed the bipartisan IGNITE HBCU Excellence Act, which would invest in new infrastructure and technology improvements at HBCUs around the country. He'll likely try to continue to build support for the bill in his role as chair of the advisory board.
The isn't the first time Biden has tapped Allen for a big role. Allen led the inauguration committee last fall and previously served as a speechwriter for Biden when the president was a senator.
It has been a busy stretch for Allen and Delaware State. The university over the summer completed its acquisition of Wesley College. Last month, the university announced a major return to Wilmington after Capital One donated a riverfront building valued at $4.7 million.
Delaware State raised some $20 million in philanthropic funding during 2020. That's not including the $20 million donation DSU received last year from MacKenzie Scott, a philanthropist and ex-wife of Amazon's Jeff Bezos.
Allen became the school's president in January 2020 after serving as executive vice president and provost.
"Over the past three years I've been privileged to be around Dr. Allen a lot in my different roles with the Student Government Association," said Semaj Hazard, a senior education major and president of the SGA. "Everyone knows him as this very articulate person in the media, but up close he's even more impressive. I don't think you could find anybody who cares more about the future of HBCUs than Tony Allen, or anyone better qualified to go after the resources we need.
"President Biden picked the right man."
This is the second week in a row Biden has gone to Delaware to fill a need. Last week, Biden named former Delaware Gov. Jack Markell to temporarily lead the coordination of Afghan evacuees resettling in the United States.
Contact reporter Jeff Neiburg at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @Jeff_Neiburg.