White House Initiative on Historically Black Colleges and Universities Announces 2021 Virtual National HBCU Week Conference

White House Initiative on Historically Black Colleges and Universities Announces 2021 Virtual National HBCU Week Conference

September 3, 2021

EDITOR’S NOTE: On Sept. 9, the Office of the Vice President announced plans for Vice President Kamala Harris to visit Hampton University as part of the 2021 National HBCU Week Conference. The Vice President will convene a roundtable discussion with STEM students at Hampton University to discuss the value of HBCUs in training the next generation of STEM professionals. There will be pooled press coverage of this event, and it will be livestreamed on WhiteHouse.gov/Live.


Today, President Joe Biden, U.S. Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona and the White House Initiative on Historically Black Colleges and Universities invite institution leaders, faculty, students, and supporters to the 2021 National HBCU Week Conference to be held virtually September 7-10th. The annual National HBCU Week Conference is the nation's premier convening of key influencers in the HBCU space.

This year's conference theme is "Exploring Equity." In his Executive Order on Advancing Racial Equity and Support for Underserved Communities Through the Federal Government, President Biden said, "Equal opportunity is the bedrock of American democracy, and our diversity is one of our country's greatest strengths.But for too many, the American Dream remains out of reach."

In response to President Biden's Executive Order, federal agencies were charged with evaluating opportunities to increase coordination, communication, and engagement with HBCUs. Next week’s conference will focus on program opportunities from many of those federal partners.

"HBCUs are engines of opportunity, social mobility, and economic prosperity for the students they serve. Since their founding, these vital institutions have played a crucial role in educating students to lead thriving lives and in reversing long-standing inequities across systems in America. To build back better we need HBCUs," said U.S. Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona. "And importantly, equity and excellence are in HBCUs' institutional DNA. HBCUs serve students of color of all backgrounds from across the nation – including families and communities that historically have been furthest from opportunity and that most stand to benefit from education's potential to bring the American Dream within reach."

The National HBCU Week Conference is coordinated by the White House Initiative on HBCUs in close consultation with the Executive Office of the President and the U.S. Department of Education. The event provides an opportunity for federal agencies, private sector companies and philanthropic organizations to convene and provide useful information and successful models to improve instruction, degree completion and federal engagement, all of which strengthen the role of HBCUs.

The conference will include a combination of live and pre-recorded remarks from:

  • President Joseph R. Biden
  • Secretary Miguel Cardona, U.S. Department of Education
  • Secretary Jennifer Granholm, U.S. Department of Energy
  • Secretary Pete Buttigieg, U.S. Department of Transportation
  • Administrator Michael Regan, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
  • Cedric Richmond, Senior Advisor to the President and Director of the White House Office of Public Engagement
  • Anthony Fauci, MD, Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and the Chief Medical Advisor to the President
  • Members of the Congressional HBCU Caucus

The conference will feature special performances by the 105 Voices of History HBCU National Choir with The United States Navy Band and student poet, Saquoya Gorham, 10th grade student at Duke Ellington School for the Arts.
Sessions will be presented by:

  • U.S. Department of Education
  • Federal Emergency Management Agency, U.S. Department of Homeland Security
  • U.S. Public Health Service Commissioned Corps
  • White House Initiative on HBCU Interagency Working Group
  • U.S. Department of Defense
  • National Endowment for the Humanities
  • National Institutes of Health, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
  • Health Resources and Services Administration, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

The full 2021 National HBCU Week Conference agenda is available here: https://sites.ed.gov/whhbcu/virtual-agenda/. Interested press and other members of the public may register for the conference here: https://web.cvent.com/event/116d7f51-859c-4139-bc0a-35d3482a8224/summary

Follow along with @WHI_HBCUs on Twitter; be sure to use the #HBCUWeek hashtag!