Path to Excellence and Innovation History

Path to Excellence and Innovation (PEI) Background

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) Office of Acquisition and Logistics Management (OALM) launched the PEI Initiative in response to Executive Order (EO) 13779: The White House Initiative to Promote Excellence and Innovation at Historically Black Colleges and Universities.

This EO issued in 2017 encourages federal agencies to assist in strengthening HBCUs’ ability to:

  • equitably participate in federal programs,
  • explore new ways to improve the relationship between the federal government and HBCUs, and
  • establish how each respective agency intends to increase the capacity of HBCUs to compete effectively for grants, contracts, and cooperative agreements.

Path to Excellence and Innovation Initiative Milestones

  • March 2020: Conducted Pilot PEI Curriculum Training with Howard University
  • February 2020: Successful partnership between Hampton University Proton Therapy Institute & the National Cancer Institute was highlighted at the Office of Management All Hands Meeting
  • February 2019: Conducted acquisition and grants training at the University of Virgin Islands
  • September 2019: Recipient of the WHIHBCU Chairman’s Award
  • September 2019: Coordinated inaugural WHIHBCU HBCU Industry Day
  • March 2019: Coordinated NIH HBCU Industry Day
  • June 2018: Coordinated NIH HBCU Town Hall

White House Initiative on HBCUs History

In 1980, President Jimmy Carter signed Executive Order 12232, which established a federal program “… to overcome the effects of discriminatory treatment and to strengthen and expand the capacity of historically black colleges and universities to provide quality education.”

In 1981, President Reagan, under Executive Order 12320, established the White House Initiative on Historically Black Colleges and Universities, which expanded the previous program and set into motion a government wide effort to strengthen our nation’s HBCUs. In 1989, President George Bush signed Executive Order 12677. This executive order established a Presidential Advisory Board on Historically Black Colleges and Universities to advise the president and the secretary of education on methods, programs, and strategies to strengthen these valued institutions.

In 1993, President William Jefferson Clinton signed Executive Order 12876. This executive order required for a senior level executive in each agency have oversight in implementing the order, and that the Office of Management and Budget be involved in monitoring implementation of the order.

On Feb. 12, 2002, President George W. Bush signed Executive Order 13256. This executive order transferred the White House Initiative on Historically Black Colleges and Universities to the Office of the Secretary within the U.S. Department of Education. Previously, the White House Initiative was housed in the Department’s Office of Postsecondary Education.*

*The history of the White House Initiative on HBCUs is cited from

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