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About the Chancellor

Chancellor Debra Saunders-White

Dr. Debra Saunders-White Ed.D., began as the 11th chancellor of North Carolina Central University on June 1, 2013. She was selected by the Board of Governors of the multi-campus University of North Carolina on February 8, 2013.

Saunders-White started her tenure with the goal of “Eagle Excellence,” or “E-squared.” Her priorities for ensuring student success and academic excellence include: retaining and graduating students in four years; raising critical scholarship funds; and providing innovative academic instruction that prepares and trains students to work in the global marketplace. At NCCU, Saunders-White aims to create “techno-scholars,” or technology trendsetters and leaders who understand how technology intersects with all disciplines—from STEM to the liberal arts, social sciences, business, education, law and nursing. 

Previously, Saunders-White served as acting assistant secretary for the Office of Postsecondary Education at the U.S. Department of Education. Saunders-White joined the Department of Education in May 2011 as the deputy assistant secretary for higher education programs. As acting assistant secretary, Saunders-White's responsibilities included formulating federal postsecondary education policy to incorporate federal student aid, programs that address critical national needs in support of the department's mission to increase access to quality postsecondary education, and programs that support international and foreign language education. 

Prior to entering higher education administration, Saunders-White spent 15 years in the corporate sector at IBM. From 1994 to 1998, Saunders-White taught college-preparatory mathematics at St. George's School in Newport, R.I. In 1999, she joined Hampton University as assistant provost for technology and she was promoted to the newly created post of vice president for technology and chief information officer in 2005. 

Saunders-White left Hampton the following year to join the University of North Carolina Wilmington (UNCW) as vice chancellor for information technology systems. From 2007 to 2008, she also served concurrently as UNCW's interim associate provost in the Office of Institutional Diversity and Inclusion and as chief diversity officer. 

A Hampton, Va., native, Saunders-White earned her bachelor's degree in history from the University of Virginia. She earned a master's of business administration from The College of William & Mary and a doctorate in higher education administration from The George Washington University. 

Saunders-White is a member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority Inc. and a member of the Links Inc. She is the mother of two children, Elizabeth Paige and Cecil III.


  • Ed.D. Higher Education Administration, The George Washington University, Washington, D.C.
  • M.B.A., The College of William and Mary, Williamsburg, Va.
  • B.A., History and African American Studies, University of Virginia, Charlottesville, Va.


  • 2011-2013, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Higher Education Programs, Department of Education, Washington, D.C.
  • 2006-2010, Vice Chancellor, Information Technology Systems, University of North Carolina Wilmington (UNCW), Wilmington, N.C.
  • 2007-2008, Interim Associate Provost, Office of Institutional Diversity and Inclusion, University of North Carolina Wilmington, (UNCW), Wilmington, N.C.
  • 2005-2007, Vice President for Technology and Chief Information Officer, Hampton University, Hampton, Va.
  • 1999-2005, Assistant Provost for Technology, Hampton University, Hampton, Va.

Awards & Recognitions

  • Winner of numerous awards in higher education that focused on improving operational efficiencies
  • Recognized by leading magazines as a Cyberstar
  • Acclaimed as a top leader among higher education executives by the American Association of State Colleges and Universities and American Council on Education
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North Carolina Central University
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