George Cooper, director of the White House Initiative on Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs), will return to his alma mater—Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University (Florida A&M)—to deliver the summer commencement address on Friday, Aug. 1, in Tallahassee, Florida. Cooper will highlight the rich history of this historically black college, as well as commend students on their achievements but challenge them to go forth and serve as part of the legacy of Florida A&M.
The White House Initiative on HBCUs works to promote excellence, innovation and sustainability at all 105 HBCUs, including Florida A&M University. To accomplish President Obama’s ambitious goal of America again having the highest proportion of college graduates in the world by 2020, HBCUs cannot merely survive but must thrive over the next decade and beyond. As part of this commitment, the president’s proposed FY2015 budget includes supporting institutional innovation through a $100 million First in the World program for innovative strategies and practices that improve affordability and outcomes for low-income students and $75 million for a new College Success Grants competitive grant program to HBCUs and other Minority Serving Institutions to support innovations that reduce costs and improve outcomes for students.