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History of Central Piedmont Community College: Central Piedmont Community College (1963-Present)

A digital exhibition highlighting the history of Central Piedmont Community College, from its origins in Central High School to the present multi-campus institution.

Central Piedmont Community College History

Since its beginning, Central Piedmont has been an innovative national leader among two-year institutions. College alumni include a Pulitzer Prize winner, a Metropolitan Opera star, an Olympic gold medalist, a Congressional Medal of Honor winner, a television actress, and a pro football player.

Countless others – chefs, healthcare providers, technicians, real estate brokers, paralegals, firefighters, teachers, law enforcement officers, trades people, engineers, dental hygienists, artists, and others who serve our community – share Central Piedmont’s proud tradition.

Central Piedmont has provided educational opportunities since 1963, the year the North Carolina General Assembly passed the state community college bill. Opening as a fully integrated institution under the direction of Dr. Richard H. Hagemeyer, the founding president, the College combined the programs of the Central Industrial Education Center (CIEC) on Elizabeth Avenue and Mecklenburg College on Beatties Ford Road.

Central Piedmont has grown from a small college with a single campus and a dozen programs serving 1,600 students. Today, with six campuses and two centers, the College offers nearly 300 degree, diploma, and certificate programs plus an array of non-credit offerings. Central Piedmont enrolls approximately 56,000 students annually in for-credit programs with additional continuing education and basic skills courses, making it one of the largest colleges in the Carolinas.

The College engages approximately 256,000 individuals each year through various programs, services, events, and performances. Through all of its growth, the College has become Mecklenburg County’s primary workforce development resource, thanks to the vision and leadership of its presidents:

  • Dr. Richard Hagemeyer (1963-86)
  • Dr. Ruth Shaw (1986-92)
  • Dr. Tony Zeiss (1992-2016)
  • Dr. Kandi Deitemeyer (2017-present)

The College continues to grow to serve this region. In 2013, Mecklenburg County voters showed their support for the College in dramatic fashion, approving $210 million in bonds for land purchases, new construction and renovations at the College’s six campuses. The referendum, approved by nearly 72 percent of those voting, represents the largest amount of bond funding the College has ever received. Central Piedmont is using the $210 million, plus $70 million in other county funding, to construct 10 new buildings over 10 years, adding almost one-million square feet of new laboratory, classroom, and office space. Multiple campuses will almost double in size.

Now, under the leadership of Dr. Kandi Deitemeyer, Central Piedmont continues to enhance the lives and success of individuals and employers, making Mecklenburg County stronger and more prosperous. The College is proud to be one of the county’s primary and most reliable economic engines and its key workforce development partner. In 2019, the College adopted a new strategic plan with a focus on enhanced student success – helping more students complete their programs of study and move on with confidence and skills to careers or further education.

The 1963 Merger

Central Piedmont Locations

The 8 locations of Central Piedmont are Cato Campus, Central Campus, Harper Campus, Harris Campus, Levine Campus, Merancas Campus, City View Center, and WTVI PBS Charlotte. Also, fun fact! The first campus outside of Central Campus was built in 1990. This was then known as the North Campus, but today is the Merancas campus!

Central Piedmont Throughout the Years