Debra Saunders-White, the 11th chancellor of North Carolina Central University in Durham, died on November 26. She was 59 years old and had suffered from kidney cancer. Dr. Saunders-White was diagnosed with cancer in 2015 and took a medical leave of absence in August 2016.
Chancellor Saunders-White became chancellor on June 1, 2013. She had been serving as deputy assistant secretary for higher education programs at the U.S. Department of Education.
Dr. Saunders-White joined the Department of Education in 2011. Previously, she was vice chancellor for information technology systems at the University of North Carolina at Wilmington. From 1999 to 2006, she served in the administration at Hampton University in Virginia as assistant vice provost for technology and later as vice president for technology and chief information officer. Early in her professional career, Dr. Saunders-White was a marketing executive for IBM and later taught mathematics at St. George’s School in Newport, Rhode Island.
A native of Hampton, Virginia, Dr. Saunders-White was a graduate of the University of Virginia. She held an MBA from the College of William and Mary and a doctorate in higher education administration from George Washington University.