WASHINGTON, D.C. -- President Donald Trump today signed an anticipated executive order moving oversight of the country's Historically Black Colleges and Universities to the White House.

The move strengthens the initiative that pushes the federal government to do business with the colleges.

Several HBCU presidents were on hand to witness the signing, including Talladega College President Dr. Billy C. Hawkins.

For the first time in recent history, a sitting president extended an invitation to Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) to meet with him in the Oval Office. On Monday, Hawkins and 79 other HBCU presidents all took advantage of this historic opportunity to sit down with President Trump.

This unprecedented meeting provided an opportunity for the HBCU community to discuss ways that HBCUs could produce positive change in their respective communities. In a separate meeting with Vice President Mike Pence, Education Secretary Betsy DeVos and other top officials, Hawkins was one of four HBCU presidents to address President  Trump’s executive staff. Hawkins was able to speak on how HBCUs can work with and assist the current administration in moving education forward, specifically through leveraging HBCUs as centers of excellence.

Hawkins also highlighted ways  HBCUs could provide professional development opportunities for teachers in the expanding number of charter schools in the United States. Those in attendance from the Trump administration included: Pence, DeVos, Reince Priebus, chief of staff; Steve Bannon, senior counselor and strategist; Stephen Miller, senior adviser for policy; Kellyanne Conway, counselor; Omarosa Manigault, assistant to the president and director of communications for the Office of Public Liaison; and Ja’Ron Smith of the Domestic Policy Council. Hawkins said it was a huge day for black colleges all across the United States.

Following the meeting in the Oval Office, Hawkins was invited to witness today's signing of the Executive Order regarding HBCUs.