When compared to other types of educational institutions in North Carolina, Community Colleges are a relatively “new” concept. After World War II, North Carolina, and much of the United States, experienced the shift away from a predominantly agricultural economy and towards an industrial-based economy. As a result of this shift, there were entirely new job sectors that needed to be filled. To resolve this issue, North Carolina lawmakers saw a need for providing educational opportunities beyond a high school diploma and a four-year degree, so that North Carolina residents could obtain a quality education and a decent wage without the burden of financial strain.
Numerous studies and reports were conducted on the benefits and basic tenants of what a Community College should “look like.” Would they be modeled after trade schools or traditional universities? Perhaps they would incorporate features of both? As a result of these students, in 1957, the North Carolina General Assembly successfully voted to adopt the first Community College Act, officially establishing Community Colleges as an alternative to trade schools and four-year universities. Years later, on February 17, 1969, Congress debated the idea of a Community College. The record states, “The Community College is as much a social movement as an educational enterprise, and is perhaps closer to realizing a concept of a people’s college than any other institution in the United States.” (Volume 115, No. 27. Pg. 1 Congressional Record). As a result of the hearing, the Community College Act was passed at a national level on July 1, 1963; Central Piedmont officially opened in early July 1963, with Dr. Hagemeyer as its first president. From our inception, the value of a Community College in Charlotte was recognized by government and corporate officials. Dr. Hagemeyer approached certain “public servants,” men who were “movers and shakers” throughout North Carolina on both a local and national level, in order to help the College achieve its goal of becoming the leader in student success. These individuals would work to lay the foundations of Central Piedmont, in many ways.