The White House tapped Miami’s state Sen. Shevrin Jones to take a place next to university presidents and executives of national companies to serve on the President’s Board of Advisors on Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs), The White House announced Thursday.
Jones is a graduate of Florida A&M University, which is an HBCU. He said he was “deeply honored and overjoyed” to accept the appointment.
“President Biden and the administration at large have made clear that HBCUs are a top priority, delivering unprecedented funding and support to schools nationwide that are producing industry leaders and barrier breakers across so many fields,” said Jones, who broke barriers as the first openly LGBTQ state Senator. “By lifting up these schools and students, who too often are overlooked and underserved, we can continue to tear down the barriers to opportunity before us and build an even stronger, more resilient country ready to take on and win the 21st century.”
Among those Jones will be serving on the board with are Dee Hart, president of United Airlines; Willie A. Deese, a former executive vice president of manufacturing at Merck and Co. Inc.; Thasunda Brown Duckett, president and CEO of TIAA, a national investment and retirement company; and Javaune Adams-Gaston, the seventh president of Norfolk State University, Virginia’s largest HBCU.
Thursday’s announcement from the White House lauds Jones’ achievements as an example of the power of education as a great equalizer, recounting his work as a Broward County public school chemistry teacher, founder of a nonprofit dedicated to youth leadership development and entrepreneurship training, and his 2012 election to the Florida House of Representatives. He’s also served on President Barack Obama’s College Promise Task Force, the release says.
“He served in the Florida Legislature, championing meaningful bipartisan legislation including two consecutive bills to secure dignity for incarcerated women; statewide expansion of a clean syringe exchange program; safety and oversight for athletic coaches for youth athletic teams; increased investment in underserved communities; and greater transparency and accountability for law enforcement,” the release says.
The President’s Board will advance the goal of the HBCU Initiative, that was established by President Jimmy Carter‘s administration a release from the White House said. The effort received a renewed commitment from President Joe Biden’s administration, aiming at increasing the capacity of HBCUs to provide the highest-quality education to its students and continue serving as engines of opportunity.