Winston-Salem State University

First Female Chancellor Appointed At Winston-Salem State University

As WSSU's new3 chancellor, Bonita Brown has dedicated the next few weeks to understand the university's and community's challenges.

Winston-Salem State University (WSSU) has appointed Bonita Brown as its 14th chancellor, marking a historic milestone as she becomes the first woman to hold the position at the institution.

After an extensive search, Brown was elected by the University of North Carolina Board of Governors, following her nomination by the University of North Carolina System President Peter Hans. WSSU confirmed that she will assume her new role on July 1.

Reflecting on her trailblazing appointment, Brown, who previously served as WSSU’s assistant attorney, expressed her determination to be a role model and source of inspiration, drawing from her experiences at other universities. “I always say female leadership is a little bit different from male leadership. So we’ll see how that plays out in the course of my journey here,” she said, according to WXII 12.

Chosen from a pool of 50 candidates after several rounds of interviews, the North Carolina native has prioritized higher education in the state and investing back into the community. Over the next few weeks, Brown plans to dedicate time to understanding the specific challenges faced by the university and the surrounding community before implementing her strategic vision.

“There’s a lot of challenges,” the new chancellor acknowledged. “And so I think for Winston-Salem State, we have to find our grounding, make sure we’re fiscally sound, make sure we’re offering our degree programs that are appropriate for this time and that our students leave with the skills and tools they need to be leaders and entrepreneurs.”

Brown follows in the footsteps of her predecessors, former chancellor Elwood Robinson, whose tenure concluded with his retirement in June 2023, and WSSU provost Anthony Graham, who has served as interim chancellor.

Prior to this appointment, Brown served as the Interim President of Northern Kentucky University, where she navigated a leadership transition and tackled university issues regarding finances and enrollment. As the university’s former Vice President and Chief Strategy Officer, she implemented “Success by Design,” a plan that resulted in more than a 5% increase in retention and persistence rates.