NCCU Chancellor Debra Saunders-White taking medical leave of absence

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Monday, August 8, 2016
NCCU Chancellor diagnosed with cancer
Debra Saunders White

DURHAM (WTVD) -- Officials announced Monday that North Carolina Central University Chancellor Debra Saunders-White, who has been undergoing treatment for cancer, has requested a medical leave of absence.

The former U.S. deputy assistant secretary for higher education programs who has led NCCU since 2013, requested the leave to "fully focus her energies on her treatment."

Saunders-White revealed last year that she was battling cancer.

RELATED: NCCU Chancellor Debra Saunders-White battling cancer

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.

Spellings said NCCU's Provost And Vice Chancellor For Academic Affairs Johnson O. Akinleye will serve as acting chancellor of the university, effective immediately.

Akinleye has served as NCCU's chief academic officer since January 2014.