- Associated Press - Saturday, November 26, 2016

DURHAM, N.C. (AP) - The chancellor of North Carolina Central University, who was the first woman to serve full-time in that role, has died.

The university announced that Debra Saunders-White died Saturday after a battle with cancer. She was 59.

The university says she became chancellor in 2013 and improved the classroom and campus experience through the “Eagle Excellence” campaign.

She previously worked at the U.S. Department of Education and other schools including Hampton University in Virginia.

She took a medical leave in August months after she was diagnosed with kidney cancer.

George Hamilton, chairman of the school’s Board of Trustees, credited Saunders-White with strong retention and graduation rates. He noted that under her watch, the school was named 2016 HBCU of the year by a HBCU Digest, a publication that covers historically black universities.

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