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NC Central has new chancellor
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Debra Saunders-White

Debra Saunders-White, deputy assistant secretary for higher education programs at the U.S. Department of Education, has been selected as the new chancellor of North Carolina Central University.

The board of governors of the multi-campus University of North Carolina made the announcement Friday.

Saunders-White, 57, will assume her new duties June 1.

In recommending Saunders-White, UNC President Tom Ross said she would make a “forceful and effective leader.”

“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,” he 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.”

Since joining the Department of Education in May 2011, Saunders-White has been responsible for administering federal programs that increase access to postsecondary education for low-income, first-generation college students and students with disabilities.

A Hampton, Va., native, Saunders-White earned her bachelor’s degree in history in 1979 from the University of Virginia, where she was a DuPont Scholar. She earned a master’s of business administration from The College of William & Mary in 1993 and a doctorate in higher education administration from The George Washington University in 2004.

In 1999, she joined Hampton University as assistant provost for technology, and Hampton became the first HBCU in the nation to join the Internet 2 community and was named one of America’s “most wired universities” by Forbes Magazine and the Princeton Review. In 2005, she was promoted to the newly created post of vice president for technology and chief information officer.

Saunders-White left Hampton the following year to join the University of North Carolina Wilmington (UNCW) as vice chancellor for information technology systems. As a member of the chancellor’s executive leadership team, she was responsible for the strategic direction and operation of all IT resources on the campus.

Saunders-White succeeds Interim Chancellor Charles L. Becton, who joined the university in August 2012 following the retirement of Charlie Nelms.

She is a silver star member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority Inc. and a member of the Links Inc. She is the mother of two children: Elizabeth Paige, a senior and member of the track and field team at Temple University; and Cecil III, a second-year student at the University of Virginia.

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October 6, 2015
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