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The History of Central Piedmont Community College: Dr. Tony Zeiss (1992-2016)

A brief overview of the history of Central Piedmont Community College

Dr. Ziess Years

Dr. Paul Anthony (Tony) Zeiss

Third President of Central Piedmont, 1992-2016


How Did We Help Students Conquer Possibilities?

On December 1, 1992, Dr. Zeiss began his first day as the third president of Central Piedmont. He sought to provide institutional renewal and develop a new vision for the college for the twenty-first century. Within his first year, Dr. Zeiss and his administration put forth the following projects:

    • 10-year Master Plan – “Building the Future” helped expand to multi-campus institution, engage business and industry more directly; campaign to promote CP’s corporate training and technical, transfer, and literacy education; utilize technology to advance educational delivery; support statewide transfer to semester system

    • Creation of Job Placement Office, Student Career Center, Affirmative Action Plan, & Academic Learning Center

    • Implementation of new semester system (1998)

Campus Expansion

  • Between 1990 and 2002, Central Piedmont had grown from one campus to six, as well as three educational centers, and a virtual campus with online offerings. What started as a small satellite locations during the Hagemeyer and Shaw years, Dr. Zeiss was able to expand upon the efforts for expanding throughout the county.

Workforce Development

  • 1994 – New vision statement: “As Charlotte’s premier workforce development resource, CPCC intends to become the national leader in workforce development.”

  • 2002 – Central Piedmont selected as a Newcomen Society honoree for its performance as a national leader in workforce development 

  • 2004 - President George W. Bush visits CPCC on April 5 to announce national workforce development initiatives; he addressed a crowd of 600.

Student Success

    • Updated IT needs – campus-wide email and web access (started in early 90s); addition of CPCC-TV to Cablevision programming (2010)

    • Partnership between Ryder and CPCC is announced

    • First online courses delivered and “smart classrooms” created

    • Creation of Applied Baccalaureate Degree

    • New degree programs: 

      • Medical lab tech (1994), applied business program collaboration with Belmont Abbey College (2005); Mechatronics (2006); Emergency medical science (2014) global logistics and distribution management (2015), Biomedical Equipment Tech (2015), transfer degree – Associates in Engineering

    • Revitalized campus image 

      • Redesign of “look and feel” of campuses (red brick opposed to stucco)

    • Opening/Dedications 

      • Labs: Trane Lab, Flexography Lab, Hendrick Automotive Lab, Criminal Justice Lab, Crowder Construction Institute, Levine IT Lab, Van Every Culinary Arts Center.

      • Theatres/Centers: Halton, Overcash, Harris Conference Center.

Zeiss Years - Images

Headshot of Dr. Zeiss

Headshot image of Dr. Zeiss, circa 1999-2000.

Levine Groundbreaking Ceremony

The groundbreaking ceremony at the Levine campus, 1996-1997. Some figures, such as Dr. Zeiss, and Mr. and Mrs. Harper are identified, the others have not yet been identified.

Harper Groundbreaking Ceremony

The groundbreaking ceremony at the Harper campus, 1996-1997. Some figures, such as Dr. Zeiss, and Mr. and Mrs. Harper are identified, the others have not yet been identified.

Dr. Tony Zeiss

Dr. Zeiss looked at an aerial image of the Central Campus, while discussing the expansion and revitalization of this campus in the late-1990s. The Central Campus originally had buildings designed in cement/stucco mixture, and had a greyish look to them. As a result of the 10-year Plan, all Central Piedmont campuses would be built/renovated to include buildings of a red-brick design.

Students Around Computer

Students are shown gathering around one of the first computers, housed in the original Learning Resource Center computer lab on the Central Campus, circa 1995. In November of 1995, Central Piedmont’s website officially went live. Due to government rules prohibiting Central Piedmont from using a “.edu” web address, the College’s original web address was until January, 2002.

First Basketball Team

The very first Central Piedmont basketball team played its inaugural game in December, 1968 in a city league at Latta Park. Opponents played for companies such as Aetna Life, Eastern Airlines and Southern Bell telephones; and institutions such as UNC-Chapel Hill, UNC-Charlotte. In addition to the city league and intramural team, Central Piedmont formed a varsity basketball team in the late 1960s. The student body voted to name this team the Tigers and they went on to play other basketball teams. Other semi-professional teams at Central Piedmont included soccer, cheerleading, baseball, golf, and judo.