Saunders-White will assume her new duties as the 11th chancellor of NCCU on June 1.
She was most recently the deputy assistant secretary for higher education programs (HEP) at the U.S. Department of Education.
Before being appointed by the White House in 2011, Saunders-White, 57, was vice chancellor for information technology systems at the University of North Carolina Wilmington.
A Hampton, Va., native, Saunders-White earned her bachelor's degree in history in 1979 from the University of Virginia. She earned a master's of business administration from The College of William & Mary in 1993 and a doctorate in higher education administration from The George Washington University in 2004. She also has participated in executive leadership programs sponsored by the American Council on Education, the American Association of State Colleges and Universities and Hampton University.
Her appointment comes after former chancellor Charlie Nelms retired in August, after holding the position since 2007.
Charles Becton, a lawyer and former judge on the North Carolina Court of Appeals, took over as interim chancellor shortly after Nelms' announcement.
"Our students, faculty, staff, alumni and partners are thrilled to welcome Dr. Saunders-White into the NCCU family," Dwight D. Perry, chair of NCCU's Board of Trustees, said in a statement Friday. "Under her leadership, NCCU is poised for continued growth and future success. She possesses an innate passion for developing, educating and graduating the next generation of innovators and change agents. We look forward to working in collaboration with Dr. Saunders-White to raise NCCU's profile as a premier institution for higher education."
NCCU is part of the University of North Carolina System and has over 8,000 students currently enrolled at the school, according to the university's website.