Saunders-WhiteDr. Debra Saunders-White is NCCU's next chancellor
Dr. Debra Saunders-White is North Carolina Central University's 11th chancellor. The Board of Governors for the University of North Carolina made the announcement at 11:23 a.m. Saunders-White is also NCCU's first female chancellor. She will become NCCU's chancellor effective June 1.
“Our students, faculty, staff, alumni and partners are thrilled to welcome Dr. Saunders-White into the NCCU family,” said Dwight D. Perry, chair of NCCU’s Board of Trustees. “Under her leadership, NCCU is poised for continued growth and future success."
In accepting the position, Saunders-White thanked her parents and said that they helped her understand the importance of learning.
"My mother grew up as a sharecropper in Northampton County, North Carolina, and my father, who is now in glory, was a used-car salesman," Saunders-White said in a statement. "They educated [my three siblings and I] without any debt, only by the sweat of their brow. They knew the value of higher education. For their sacrifices, I am eternally grateful. I believe that quality higher education is transformative and is our nation’s most prized asset.”
In 2011, Saunders-White was named Deputy Assistant Secretary for Higher Education Programs in the U.S. Department of Education.
Saunders-White was one of six vice provosts at UNC-Wilmington. Starting in 2006, she was responsible for the strategic direction and operation of all IT resources at the university. During her time at UNCW, Saunders-White introduced new technologies to classrooms and improved emergency communication on campus. She also held a similar position at Hampton University.
"Over the past three decades, Deb Saunders-White has accumulated a wealth of leadership experience—in the corporate sector, at two highly respected universities, and in the halls of Washington," UNC President Tom Ross said in a statement. "At each step along the way, she has proven herself to be an energetic leader who promotes collaboration, creativity, strategic thinking, and real-life commitment to engagement and public service. She has also demonstrated a passionate commitment to helping all students succeed academically and reach their full potential."
"Dr. Saunders-White will be a forceful and effective leader for NCCU. We are delighted to bring her back to North Carolina."
Student and alumnus reaction to the hiring was also positive.
"Strong pick for chancellor in Debra Saunders-White," said Greg Doucette, NCCU law school alumnus, on Twitter. "I'm impressed. She should do well."
"WOW...A great educator and business person!" said Ernest H. Johnson on NCCU's Facebook page.
Saunders-White will take over for interim chancellor Charles L. Becton, who replaced retired chancellor Charlie Nelms in August 2012.