NCCU chancellor takes leave to continue cancer treatment

Chancellor Debra Saunders-White (Source: NCCU)


DURHAM, N.C. (WNCN) – North Carolina Central University’s chancellor is taking a leave of absence while she continues to under goes cancer treatment, the school announced Monday.

Chancellor Debra Saunders-White has been receiving treatment for cancer but is taking a medical leave to fully recover.

Saunders-White has been at the University since 2013.

NCCU provost Johnson O. Akinleye will serve as interim chancellor effective immediately.

Johnson O. Akinleye (Derrick Lewis/CBS North Carolina)
Johnson O. Akinleye (Derrick Lewis/CBS North Carolina)

“I wholeheartedly support Chancellor Saunders-White’s decision to direct her complete attention to treatment, and NCCU is fortunate that Provost Akinleye has agreed to assume even greater responsibilities while she is on medical leave,” said UNC President Margaret Spellings.

Akinleye has been NCCU’s chief academic officer since January 2014.

He said he will make sure students have a “seamless experience” during the transition.

“Our foremost priority right now is her full recovery. We continue to pray for that to happen. In the meantime, we, as the leadership team, will continue to fulfill the obligations and the mission of the institution,” Akinleye said.

Akinleye holds an undergraduate degree in telecommunications and a master’s degree in media technology from Alabama Agricultural & Mechanical University. He earned his Ph.D. in human communications studies from Howard University, the University said.

There is no word on how long Saunders-White will be on leave.

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