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Diversity & Inclusion
February 18, 2022

‘Supporting HBCUs is critical for solving racial inequity in America’

Viewpoints: HBCUs possess the power and the people to create a more equitable society, writes Dr. Harry L. Williams, president and CEO of Thurgood Marshall College Fund.

Headshot of Dr. Harry L. Williams
Dr. Harry L. Williams is president and CEO of the Thurgood Marshall College Fund.
Diversity & Inclusion
February 18, 2022

‘Supporting HBCUs is critical for solving racial inequity in America’

Viewpoints: HBCUs possess the power and the people to create a more equitable society, writes Dr. Harry L. Williams, president and CEO of Thurgood Marshall College Fund.

Editor's note: Our monthly Viewpoints series invites guest authors from outside of Wells Fargo to share an important perspective related to their work. Today, we welcome Dr. Harry L. Williams, president and CEO of Thurgood Marshall College Fund.

Historically Black colleges and universities, or HBCUs, play a vital role in educating, training, and developing Black professionals, creating an essential bridge between Black employees and corporate America. Recognizing this, many large corporations are investing time, money, and resources to create comprehensive diversity, equity, and inclusion strategies.  Recent data from McKinsey & Company shows that this kind of investment in HBCUs will profoundly affect the economy. HBCUs are uniquely positioned to foster such engagement given their assets, experience, and cultural and historical significance.

Four college students stand with their arms around each other, smiling at the camera. They are each wearing a sweatshirts from an HBCU.
TMCF has awarded over $300 million in scholarships to HBCUs and the students who attend them.

Thurgood Marshall College Fund, or TMCF, has long recognized that HBCUs are an essential component to the nation’s diversity, equity, and inclusion strategy. There are more than 100 HBCUs in the U.S., representing just 3% of all colleges and universities and producing 26% of all Black American graduates. They also award, on average, 32% of STEM degrees earned by Black students and supply more Black applicants to medical schools than all other higher education institutions combined. 

Increasing representation in these professions, as well as training and developing the next generation of Black entrepreneurs, are two critical factors to closing the racial wealth gap.

We support nearly 300,000 HBCU students across the country with scholarships, leadership development, and unique programs to get students to and through college and into good jobs.

Black students have nearly $25,000 more student loan debt than their white counterparts, according to the White House Initiative on Educational Excellence for African Americans (PDF). Our work at TMCF addresses these issues by providing pathways intended to reduce student loan debt and address the racial wealth gap by giving Black talent access to lucrative jobs while providing an affordable path to college degree completion. We support nearly 300,000 HBCU students across the country with scholarships, leadership development, and unique programs that bridge the resource gap to get students to and through college and into good jobs.

A woman stands at a podium that says Thurgood Marshall College Fund. Where education pays off.
TMCF carries forward the proud legacy of Justice Thurgood Marshall by providing critical support, scholarships, and points of access to HBCU students.

For more than two decades, we’ve worked with Wells Fargo to provide critical resources to students when they need it most. For 22 years, Wells Fargo has served as the presenting sponsor of our annual Leadership Institute, TMCF’s signature professional development program. Matriculating through college can be tough, and support navigating that journey is a crucial part of ensuring graduation and career growth is attainable. We were excited to extend our partnership with Wells Fargo this year, hosting the Beyond College Webinar Series, to offer even more support to HBCU students.

Through dedicated programming to prepare students for economic mobility and intentionally diversifying the future work force within corporate America, TMCF and Wells Fargo are addressing some of the nation’s most difficult issues while creating both long-term impact and sustainable outcomes with underrepresented groups.

Supporting HBCUs is critical to solving racial inequity in America. We believe HBCUs possess the power and the people to create a more equitable society. That’s why we work so diligently to ensure their sustainability and strengthen their capacity to continue to produce top talent who are prepared to change the face of leadership in business — and beyond. 

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