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Johnson Akinleye named 12th chancellor of North Carolina Central

Akinleye had been leading the Durham campus on an interim basis since November 2016, following the death of former Chancellor Debra Saunders-White.

Johnson Akinleye, who had served as interim chancellor of North Carolina Central University since January, has been tapped to fill the position on a permanent basis, the school announced Monday.

Akinleye was elected by the board of governors of the 17-campus University of North Carolina. He was given the interim position shortly after the death of former Chancellor Debra Saunders-White, who died from cancer last November at age 59.

UNC System President Margaret Spellings formally nominated Akinleye during a special meeting of the board held in Chapel Hill.

“Dr. Akinleye is a strategic thinker and no-nonsense leader,” she said in a statement. “…He sees building a relationship with the campus and community leaders as a priority, and he understands the need to maximize the full value of being in the Research Triangle.”

Akinleye received an undergraduate degree in telecommunications and a master’s degree in media technology from Alabama A&M University. He earned his Ph.D. in human communications studies from Howard University.

At North Carolina Central, Akinleye worked to expand the university’s academic partnerships, including new agreements with community colleges. He also launched NCCU Online, a distance-education program.

Before he was named interim chancellor, Akinleye served as acting chancellor, beginning in August 2016. He also held the positions of provost and vice chancellor for academic affairs.

He now becomes the school’s 12th chancellor.

A NCCU search committee, led by Board of Trustees Chairman George Hamilton, had sought candidates who “embodied effective executive, administrative and academic leadership,” the school said in a statement.

“Dr. Akinleye has a keen understanding of the landscape of higher education in North Carolina and nationally,” Hamilton said. “…He knows our strengths and growth potential, and, as an added plus, he will hit the ground running on day one!”

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