Bill Cosby - StudentsFirst Board of Directors

One of America’s most beloved comedians, Bill Cosby has captivated generations of fans with his comedy routines, iconic albums and best-selling books. His work transcends age, gender and cultural barriers.

Cosby has been an outspoken and passionate advocate for improving schools, especially those serving poor and minority children. He also has been a strong proponent of expanding educational choices for families and has called for policies that can help increase college access to low-income students. Cosby holds a doctorate in education from University of Massachusetts Amherst.

Cosby broke television’s racial barrier with I Spy, becoming the first African American to costar on a television series while winning three consecutive Emmys. He created and produced the Emmy-winning cartoon Fat Albert and the Cosby Kids, which began airing in the 1970s. The show, based on Cosby’s childhood in Philadelphia, was designed to educate and entertain. The former Navy serviceman’s illustrious list of accomplishments includes roles on the children’s educational show Electric Company and creating and producing the Emmy award winning Little Bill, which is based on his best-selling book series.

Perhaps Cosby’s greatest contribution to American entertainment and culture is The Cosby Show, about a close-knit, upper class black family. Cosby said his intent was to portray an American family. Time magazine called the show “an encouraging sign of maturity in matters of race.” The Cosby Show dominated the No. One spot for years.

Cosby has received the Kennedy Center Honors, the Presidential Medal of Freedom (America’s highest civilian honor), the Mark Twain Prize for American Humor and the Marian Anderson Award. He married the former Camille Hanks on January 25, 1964. They raised four daughters and one son and now have three grandchildren. The family resides in New England.