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NCCU Chancellor Announces Medical Leave To Get Cancer Treatment

Debra Saunders-White

North Carolina Central University Chancellor Debra Saunders-White will take a medical leave of absence to receive cancer treatment, university officials said Monday.Saunders-White told UNC President Margaret Spellings she wanted to make sure the institution is moving full steam ahead as the new academic year gets underway.

Johnson O. Akinleye, NCCU's provost and vice chancellor for academic affairs, will serve as acting chancellor of the university, effective immediately, the university said.

"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," Spellings said in a statement.

Saunders-White is a former U.S. deputy assistant secretary for higher education programs and has led NCCU since 2013.

Saunders previously announced that she was diagnosed last year with kidney cancer. Last fall she said her prognosis was good and she planned to stay on the job. In June, she missed the University's Trustees meeting due to treatment.

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