Women embrace news of new female NCCU chancellor

Feb. 27, 2013 @ 05:53 PM

Debra Saunders-White won’t take over officially as the new chancellor of N.C. Central University until June 1.

But the announcement that the U.S Department of Education official will become the university’s 11th chancellor - and first permanent female leader - continues to spur excitement on campus, particularly among female students.

Reggie McCrimmon, the president of the NCCU Student Government Association, told the Board of Trustees on Wednesday that the announcement of Saunders-white’s selection has generated a flurry of positive reaction on social media.

“We’ve received hundreds of tweets about the new chancellor,” McCrimmon said. “Many of the tweets and the Facebook posts have been from women and there’s a real sense of empowerment we’re seeing from the women.”

McCrimmon showed the board a selection of tweets - particularly those from women - that had appeared on Twitter, the social media site.

“Excited to welcome the new Chancellor of #NCCU,” wrote Kian Brown, a former student body president. “THIS IS MAJOR!!”

“Congrats to our new chancellor at NCCU!” tweeted LaShika Williams. “It's a woman! Yes!”

“Yay for a Lady Chance!” Exulted Breana Marshall.

And from Ronnae Nash, a current undergraduate: “An African American WOMAN! Proud to be a student!”

Saunders-White, a North Carolina native, will replace Charlie Nelms, who abruptly announced his departure after five years in the post last June. Charles Becton, a retired superior court judge, has served as interim chancellor since Nelms’ departure.

Saunders-White, currently deputy assistant secretary for higher education programs in Washington, D.C., worked for IBM for 15 years, first as a systems engineer then as a marketer. A University of Virginia graduate, she’s taught college-prep mathematics and served as assistant provost at Hampton University before becoming vice chancellor for information technology systems at UNC Wilmington.

Saunders-White emerged from a field of more than 60 candidates for the post of chancellor during a six-month search for NCCU’s new leader. She will be paid $285,000 to lead the 8,500-student campus.