Education

Interim chancellor gets full-time gig at NCCU

Posted June 26

— North Carolina Central University has a new leader after Dr. Johnson Akinleye was named chancellor Monday afternoon.

There was a standing ovation as Akinleye was named as the 12th chancellor of the university by the University of North Carolina Board of Governors during a special meeting in Chapel Hill.

Akinleye served as acting chancellor from August 2016 to January 2017, when he was named interim chancellor. Akinleye takes over for Debra Saunders-White, who died last year following a battle with cancer.

"The honor of following her legacy of eagle excellence is one that I treasure and cherish," Akinleye said.

“I accept the awesome responsibility as the twelfth chancellor for North Carolina Central University with humility,” Akinleye said in a statement. “I look forward to leading NCCU in a manner that honors our mission and to working closely with UNC General Administration to fulfill the university’s system-wide mission and goals that accrue to the benefit of the citizens of the great state of North Carolina.”

Dr. Johnson Akinleye

Akinleye said he will focus on dealing with enrollment growth at NCCU during his first year as chancellor. The student body stands at just over 8,000 and the school of education expanded by 23 percent over the 2014-2015 school year.

"The first challenge for us to be able to develop some sort of residential housing opportunity for the students who are knocking on our doors. We don't want to turn them back, so that's the very first thing that we need to be looking at," he said.

Akinleye previously served as associate vice chancellor for academic programs at UNC-Wilmington and held various leadership positions at Edward Waters College and Bethune-Cookman University in Florida.

“Dr. Akinleye is a strategic thinker and no-nonsense leader,” said UNC President Margret Spellings. “His distinguished career includes extensive experience in senior administrative leadership roles at public, private and church-affiliated institutions. 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.”

The Board of Governors said it received 30 applications for the position and narrowed the search down to three candidates in just six months. Spellings said the search for a new chancellor typically takes a full academic year.

Akinleye said Spellings stressed the importance of the search.

"The search for a new chancellor is the most important service that we could render to the university that it was critical that committee members found the right person," trustee George Hamilton said.

Secretary of Education John B. King on Monday night congratulated Akinleye on his new position.

"Akinleye is an inquisitive leader who consistently seeks evidence-based approaches to improve student pathways to graduation. We applaud this appointment and look forward to supporting him as chancellor," King said in a statement.

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