HRC Announces HBCU Advisory Council, Partnership with Penn Center for Minority Serving Institutions

Today, HRC announced the inaugural members of a National Advisory Council that will work with HRC’s Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU) Project. The distinguished members include the former presidents of Morehouse College and Bennett College, as well as Michael Lomax, CEO and President of the United Negro College Fund and former president of Dillard University. In conjunction with the announcement, HRC’s HBCU Project is also launching a new partnership with The Penn Center for Minority Serving Institutions at the University of Pennsylvania to establish national benchmarks and best practices for HBCUs on LGBTQ inclusion.

The council’s 11 members will help develop and shape programs for HRC’s HBCU Project, which provides leadership training and programs to improve LGBTQ inclusion on campus, and serve as Equality Ambassadors by advocating for LGBTQ-affirming learning environments.  Members are:

  • Frenchie Davis, an alumna of Howard University, singer/songwriter, and a finalist on American Idol and The Voice
  • Noah Perkins-Deal, a student at Prairie View A&M University
  • Robert Franklin, PhD, a Morehouse College alumnus, the James T. and Berta R. Laney Chair in Moral Leadership at Candler School of Theology at Emory University, and former President of Morehouse College
  • Marybeth Gasman, PhD, the Director of The Penn Center for Minority Serving Institutions and professor at the University of Pennsylvania
  • Leslie Hall, MSW (ex-officio), an alumnus of both Bowie State University and Howard University and Manager of the HBCU Project at the Human Rights Campaign Foundation
  • Michael Lomax, PhD, an alumnus of Morehouse College, current CEO and President of the United Negro College Fund, and former President of Dillard University
  • Julianne Malveaux, PhD, the President/Founder of Economic Education and former President of Bennett College
  • Trinice McNally, MS, an alumna of Bethune-Cookman University and Program Manager of HBCU Initiatives at the National Black Justice Coalition
  • Steve Mobley, PhD, a Howard University alumnus and an Assistant Professor of Higher Education at University of Alabama
  • Brian Stewart, an alumnus of Morgan State University and a current graduate student at Pepperdine University
  • Darrell Wheeler, PhD, a Howard University alumnus, President of the National Association of Social Workers, and the Dean of the School of Social Work and Vice Provost for Public Engagement at the University of Albany

“HRC is honored to work with these remarkable educators and leaders as we continue to expand our HBCU Project’s initiatives,” said Mary Beth Maxwell, HRC’s Senior Vice President for Programs, Research, and Training. “Through the years, HRC’s HBCU Project has trained and equipped hundreds of HBCU students and administrators to deliver real change for LGBTQ students on their campuses. The advisory council and partnership with The Penn Center will provide experienced voices and powerful tools to help us ensure that our important work continues to grow in both its impact and reach.”

“Working with this distinguished group of leaders will help HRC’s HBCU Project achieve our goal of LGBTQ equality and inclusion at all 105 HBCUs nationwide,” said Leslie Hall, Manager of the HBCU Project. “Our new partnership with The Penn Center for Minority Serving Institutions will bring us closer to that goal by working with us to develop national benchmarks for HBCUs to utilize in their pursuit of equality.”

For HBCUs that reach or surpass various benchmarks, the partnership between HRC’s HBCU Project and The Penn Center for Minority Serving Institutions will establish a framework to recognize HBCUs that lead the way on LGBTQ equality. They will also develop tools for HBCUs to expand their diversity and inclusion efforts for LGBTQ people, including webinars for staff and administrators on housing and health care policies.

The HRC’s HBCU Project was founded to support LGBTQ students at HBCUs by providing resources and trainings to advance affirming and supportive college campuses at historically Black colleges and universities.  For the last 11 years, the HBCU Project has hosted an annual HBCU Leadership Summit to train and prepare student leaders and administrators to advocate for LGBTQ inclusion and safety.  

To learn more about the HRC’s HBCU Project, including our trainings and summit, visit