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Bonita J. Brown is the 14th Chancellor of Winston-Salem State University. 

She was elected by the University of North Carolina Board of Governors, following her nomination by University of North Carolina System President Peter Hans.

Brown assumed the role on July 1, 2024. 

Brown recently served as the Interim President at Northern Kentucky. During her tenure, she led the campus through a leadership transition and in navigating significant financial challenges and declining enrollments.

Chancellor Elect, Bonita Brown 

Bonita J. Brown | 14th Chancellor

Prior to being Interim President, she served as the Vice President and Chief Strategy Officer for Northern Kentucky University where she leads the campus in implementing Success by Design, the university’s strategic plan solely focused on student success. From this work, retention and persistence rates increased by over five percent.

She previously worked as the Vice President of Network Engagement at Achieving the Dream, a national non-profit leader that champions evidence-based institutional improvement in community colleges across the country. In this role, Brown was responsible for supporting a network of over 220 community colleges in 41 states as they work to implement sustainable, campus wide student success efforts.

Prior to this position, she served as the Director of Higher Education Practice with the Education Trust in Washington D.C. While at the Education Trust, she created and led an initiative entitled Optimizing Academic Success and Institutional Strategy (OASIS), which was a national network of regional, comprehensive, minority serving institutions that enroll large numbers of low-income students and students of color.

As the Director of Higher Education Practice, she worked with the institutions in assessing data and implementing national best practices for improving student success and closing completion gaps. Previously she served as the Vice Chancellor and Chief of Staff, and as Assistant Secretary to the Board of Trustees at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro.

Over the course of her career, Mrs. Brown has also served as the Chief of Staff at the University of North Texas, General Counsel at the University of North Carolina School of the Arts and Assistant Attorney at Winston-Salem State University.

She was most recently chosen as one of eleven national Designers in Residence to reimagine the role of Higher Education in closing racial and economic opportunity gaps by the Education Design Lab.

In the past, she served on the Boards of United Way of Denton County, Presbyterian Hospital in Denton, TX and on the Board of the Greensboro History Museum in Greensboro, NC. She has participated in the HERS Leadership program, the AASCU Millennium Leadership Initiative and is a graduate of the Harvard Institute of Educational Management. Mrs. Brown received her BA in history from Wake Forest University and her JD from Wake Forest University School of Law.  She is married to Mr. Wesley Brown, and they have two children Joshua Brown and Myliah Brown, and one granddaughter, Angelic.


 More About Chancellor Brown


In Her Own Words
Chancellor Media
Press Conference


Areas reporting to the Chancellor include:


The members of the Chancellor's Executive Cabinet include: