The UNC system announced Monday that N.C. Central University Chancellor Debra Saunders-White is taking a medical leave of absence and will be replaced by Provost Johnson O. Akinleye who will serve as acting chancellor, reported

“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.

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.”

In a statement, UNC President Margaret Spelling said she “wholeheartedly support Chancellor Saunders-White’s decision to direct her complete attention to treatment, and NCCU is fortunate that Provost Akinleye has agreed to assume even greater responsibilities while she is on medical leave,” adding “his extensive administrative experience” makes him “exceptionally well qualified to assume oversight of the campus. The university will be in very good hands, and I am grateful that he has accepted this important assignment.”

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The HBCU community took to Twitter to send their thoughts and prayers to Saunders-White.