Nearly 40 years after being founded by N. Joyce Payne, history has been made over at Thurgood Marshall College Fund (TMCF).

Racquel Oden has been appointed as chair of the HBCU-focused nonprofit organization’s board of trustees — making the Hampton University alumna the first Black woman in TMCF’s history to serve in the role — Forbes reports.

Prior to Oden’s new appointment, she was named head of the U.S. for HSBC Bank, where she leads wealth and personal banking, per TMCF’s website. Before that she was the former managing director and head of network expansion at JPMorgan Chase, an executive member at Merrill Lynch, and managing director at UBS. 

According to Forbes, TMCF believes that Oden’s “work in industry uniquely positions her to serve as an advocate to secure new partnerships.”

“TMCF represents 80% of all students attending HBCUs,” Oden stated, per the outlet. “As a board member for the past 16 years, I’ve supported TMCF as it promotes access, equity, and inclusion by nurturing the growth of talent from HBCUs through scholarships and leadership development. I am excited to build on that legacy of service as the first woman to step into the role.”

With the milestone appointment set to further push forward TMCF’s mission of inclusion and equity, the organization’s team has high hopes for what Oden’s experience will bring.

“As she assumes the crucial role of Board Chair, Racquel’s historic appointment reflects a significant step forward for our organization, underscoring our commitment to equity and inclusion,” TMCF President Harry L. Williams said. “Her leadership is poised to guide TMCF to new heights, solidifying our position to change the world one leader at a time as well as position ourselves as an authority on equity and inclusion.”

Robert Palmer, a Howard University professor, chimed in that he hopes there will be in increase of HBCU boards of trustees that will “not only consider more women for leadership positions but also to critically examine policies and practices within their institutions to ensure women presidents and other women executive leaders are treated equally to their male counterparts.”