Sunday, November 27, 2016

Dr. Debra Saunders-White

When I learned the date of the inauguration for Deb Saunders-White as chancellor of NCCU, I knew I would have to attend. And I did, in the spring of 2014.

I met her shortly after I became president of Dillard when she was with the Department of Education. Dillard had been working hard to have our Katrina loan modified, the loan that helped rebuild a campus devastated by Hurricane Katrina. So we had a number of conversations until 2013 when she was announced as chancellor of NCCU. She made a visit to Dillard before taking that assignment to confirm that the loan had been modified and the new terms.

The last time I saw her was September of 2015. I was there as the hazing awareness week speaker, and had a chance to visit with her before the event. It was here when she told me that she was battling cancer; the news was not public at that time. You never know what to say when you get news like this, but she had a good spirit and energy.

So when I got the call Saturday morning I was surprised. I knew she was on leave, but I always expected her to fully recover. However this was not God's plan for her.

I am thankful for her service to NCCU and to the HBCU community. She and I were of like minds- involved with students, active on social media, fully understanding the big picture higher ed issues. I always enjoyed any moments we had together, including the 2014 White House Summit on Affordability. I just hate we didn't have more of them.

Thank you Deb for all you did. You will be missed.