Vice President Kamala Harris wore a Howard University shirt as she smiled from a luxury suite at the 2023 Celebration Bowl. She received her bachelor’s degree in political science and economics from the historically Black college in Washington, D.C.

Harris is an avid supporter of Howard University athletics and previously attended a Bison basketball game. She traveled to Atlanta Saturday to support her alma mater as the Howard football team made its debut in the bowl game created to highlight historically Black colleges and universities. 

Although Howard lost by four to Florida A&M at Mercedes-Benz Stadium, the vice president remained gracious in defeat.

“We didn’t win, but it was a good game,” she said shortly after the game. “FAMU did their thing.”

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Harris was born in California and returned to the state after she completed her studies at Howard. She enrolled in law school at the University of California, Hastings. She described herself as a “very proud Bison” during an interview with ESPN during the game.

Harris was accompanied by the second gentleman, Doug Emhoff, after the couple walked off Air Force Two Saturday. Emhoff wore blue and gray, Howard’s school colors.

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Atlanta Mayor Andre Dickens and U.S. Sen. Raphael Warnock, D-Ga., greeted Harris and Emhoff on the tarmac at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport.

“I grew up through college going to our (Howard’s) games,” Harris said during the game when asked about what university athletics meant to her. 

“And go back every year … many years for homecoming and to be able to celebrate the team as an extension of celebrating the school and all HBCUs. … It’s very much a part of just a cultural appreciation and really lifting up … just the beauty of the work and the excellence.”

This year marked the ninth year of the HBCU college football national championship. It also marked the first time either team advanced to the championship. 

Florida A&M entered Saturday’s game with a 10-game win streak after defeating Prairie View A&M 35-14 Dec. 2 to earn its first Southwestern Athletic Conference (SWAC) title. Howard had a two-game winning streak heading into the Celebration Bowl. The Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference (MEAC) holds a 6-1 edge over opponents from the SWAC in the bowl.

More than 41,000 fans attended Saturday’s game.