WASHINGTON, D.C. (WGHP) – Two persons with connections to the Piedmont Triad are being nominated by President Joe Biden to serve on the President’s Board of Advisors on Historically Black Colleges and Universities.

Willie Deese (NEWS & RECORD)
Chris Paul (WGHP file)

A release from the White House said this group will work to advance the HBCU Initiative, which was established under President Jimmy Carter to increase the capacity of HBCUs and help reach more students.

Among the 18 from a broad range of experiences nominated to the board on Thursday are NC A&T alumnus Willie Deese and professional basketball star Chris Paul of Winston-Salem.

Deese is a retired pharmaceutical executive and corporate board member, and his name adorns the College of Business and Economics at A&T. He most recently served as executive vice president of manufacturing at Merck and Co.

The White House said in its release that Deese “is recognized for his expertise in manufacturing and supply chain management as well as his proactive contributions defining healthy, engaged corporate cultures, implementing environmental and sustainability standards, DEI practices and policies, and leadership development.”

Paul, a graduate of Wake Forest University, is a 12-time NBA All-Star who plans for the Phoenix Suns. He is an Olympic gold medal-winner and is listed as one of the 75 greatest players in NBA history.

He also is known for his activism and philanthropy and his foundation has helped to expand a Business of Entertainment Media and Sports special topics course at NC A& T, Southern University, Winston Salem State and Clark Atlanta University, all HBCUs. 

Biden also announced his nomination of:

  • Makola M. Abdullah, president of Virginia State University.
  • Javaune Adams-Gaston, the president of Norfolk State University.
  • Paige Blake, a junior at Bowie State University in Maryland who plans to attend medical school despite suffering from a form of Spina Bifida.
  • Thasunda Brown Duckett, president and CEO of TIAA, a Fortune 100 investment company.
  • Patrick Cokley, chief of organizing advocacy and learning at Civic Influencers.
  • Monica Goldson, CEO for Prince George’s County Public Schools in Maryland.
  • Brett Hart, president of United Airlines.
  • Taraji P. Henson, an Academy Award-nominated and SAG- and Golden Globe-winning actor, filmmaker and activist.
  • Beverly W. Hogan, a public administrator, educator, community leader and humanitarian and the first woman to lead Tougaloo College.
  • Lisa P. Jackson, Apple’s vice president of Environment, Policy and Social Initiatives.
  • Shevrin Jones, a Florida state senator and educator.
  • Walter M. Kimbrough, an educator at Emory University, Georgia State University, Old Dominion University and Albany State University.
  • William F. L. Moses, managing director for the Kresge Foundation’s Education Program.
  • Quinton T. Ross Jr., president of Alabama State University.
  • Ruth J. Simmons, president of Prairie View A&M University. 
  • Janeen Uzzell, CEO at the National Society of Black Engineers.

Biden last year had appointed Tony Allen and Glenda Glover to serve as chair and vice-chair of the board and Dietra Trent as executive director of the White House HBCU Initiative.