NC Central Installs Saunders-White As Chancellor

DURHAM, N.C. Debra Saunders-White says that while some may question the relevancy of historically black colleges and universities, she believes N.C. Central University should help provide the answer.

"My response to you, Eagles, is absolutely," she said, referring to the school's mascot "And N.C. Central must lead the way."

Saunders-White was installed Friday as the 11th chancellor of N.C. Central. Her mother, son and daughter stood alongside on Friday as she was sworn in as the first woman to become permanent chancellor at NCCU.

Saunders-White said one of her goals is to improve graduation rates, and to encourage students to finish their degrees in four years. She also announced three new initiatives, among them a trip to China later this month to sign a deal with the Beijing Language and Culture University for exchange programs, with a particular emphasis on NCCU's communication disorders program that deals with autism.

The university will create a Hip Hop Institute with record producer, rapper and NCCU alumnus Patrick Douthit - better known as 9th Wonder - as visiting artist-in-residence.

N.C. Central also will establish a media lab in partnership with Massachusetts Institute of Technology to train students and reach out to the Durham community with science, technology, engineering and math programs.

"There is not a doubt in my mind that Debra Saunders-White is the right person to lead North Carolina Central University today and in the years ahead," said UNC President Tom Ross.

Hampton University President William Harvey said Saunders-White would demonstrate the importance of HBCUs.

"Standing up for HBCUs is not always the easiest thing to do," Harvey said, "but it's the right thing to do. I am glad to have her on the HBCU team."


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