Central Piedmont Community College
|President||Dr. P. Anthony (Tony) Zeiss|
|Location||Charlotte, North Carolina, USA|
|Colors||Black and Green|
Central Piedmont Community College (CPCC) is a large community college in Charlotte, North Carolina. Named Central Piedmont Community College by statute and commonly known as CPCC or Central Piedmont, its more than 70,000 students make it one of the largest community colleges in the North Carolina Community College System.
The school was founded in 1963; it is the result of a merger between Mecklenburg College and the Central Industrial Education Center. Now the College consists of six satellite campuses and an extensive "Virtual Campus", all in the Charlotte metropolitan area.
From 1922 to 1959, Central High School was located on Elizabeth Avenue, where Central Piedmont Community College is now located. When the county and city school systems merged in the early 1950s, the building went unused until 1959 with its students moving into the new Garinger High School. With the building vacant Charlotte College (later UNCC) used the space. Starting in 1959, the Central Industrial Education Center shared the space in the old high school. The three-story building later became Garinger Hall and was once again named the Central High Building in 2002. As a result of the 1963 N.C. Community College Act, the Central Industrial Education Center and the black Mecklenburg College combined to become Central Piedmont Community College.
From its inception, the College has been innovative in its teaching methods. Starting in 1963, the College offered 23 degree and diploma programs, a number which has grown over the years; CPCC now offers over 100 degree, diploma and certificate programs. Early on, CPCC garnered national recognition for its individualized instruction and computer-assisted instruction. In 1970, the college was invited to join the prestigious League for Innovation in the Community College and is still an active member.
Central Piedmont Community College has been a national pacesetter in education. Standouts on the CPCC roster include a Pulitzer Prize winner, a Metropolitan Opera star, an Olympic gold medalist, a Medal of Honor recipient, a television actress, and a pro football player.
Tony Zeiss, CPCC’s third president, has led the college since December 1992. He is devoted to the mission of CPCC and to serving students and the community through customized training and workforce development. Under his direction, CPCC became a multi-campus community college in 1996 with the conversion of the North Area Learning Center in Huntersville to the North Campus. Four other campuses subsequently opened: the Levine Campus in 1998, the Harper Campus in 1999, the Harris Campus in 2001, and the Cato Campus in 2002. CPCC now has full-service campuses across Mecklenburg County. In February of 2016, Dr. Zeiss announced his plans to retire from CPCC in June 2016. As of 27 April 2016, a search is underway for the next president of the college.
CPCC has grown from a small college with a dozen programs serving 1,600 students to one with over 258 degree, diploma, and certificate programs serving approximately 70,000 students in an array of credit and noncredit offerings. The college is the county’s premier workforce development resource, offering its educational services throughout the area.
WTVI Charlotte’s PBS affiliate, now run by Central Piedmont Community College, will become a laboratory for the college’s new associate degree program launching in August 2015 in broadcasting and production technology.
Central Campus is in the Elizabeth neighborhood (adjacent to Independence Park and the Little Sugar Creek Greenway). The campus is set up more like a traditional university campus, housing many buildings on many different blocks. Currently, certain buildings on campus are being expanded and renovated, while others are being replaced altogether.
There are street car rails in the pavement of Elizabeth Avenue, which bisects through the heart of campus. The rails are for the proposed Center City Corridor.
Next door to the campus sits Grady Cole Center and Memorial Stadium, the latter plays hosts to large capacity local high school football games and a new Major League Lacrosse expansion team, the Charlotte Hounds.
Originally the Northeast Campus, it is located near Reedy Creek Nature Reserve and was opened in Summer of 2002 with two buildings totaling 50,000 sq/ft. Built to relieve overcrowding at Central Campus, this location's focus area is horticulture due to its hilly and shady terrain, close proximity to local parks and ease of access to the rest of the county. It is also located in the University City section of Charlotte, the campus is only 3 miles from University of North Carolina at Charlotte, providing close proximity for students of both institutions to take classes at either campus.
In the Summer of 2005, the campus was renamed after Wayland H. Cato, a retailer who donates to the College. The campus also saw expansion and has since added another building, however the main focus of the Cato Campus is still horticulture and turf management.
Opened in Winter of 1998 as the Southwest Campus, this satellite campus is located on Hebron St. off of Nations Ford Rd. in Southwest Charlotte. The campus focuses on construction technologies, welding, HVAC systems, graphic design and arts, and general studies.
Opened as the 'South Campus' in the fall of 1998, this satellite campus is located in southeast Mecklenburg County, in Matthews, North Carolina. The campus opened with a 116,000 sq/ft building on a 32 acres, aimed at relieving the overcrowding at the Central Campus. The campus features a book store, computer lab and a food court in a three-story building. The campus was renamed and increased to 220,000 sq/ft with the aim to make the new Levine Campus into a full-fledged college campus. In late 2005 the Levine Campus grew again, when NASCAR owner Rick Hendrick donated money to build the $4 million, 25,000 sq/ft facility, 'Joe Hendrick Center for Automotive Technology'.
Now the campus has seen an enrollment of over 10,000 students, most looking to start their collegiate career toward a 2-year degree or transferring to a 4-year university or college. With the construction of I-485 right next door, the College has expanded the role for the campus, particularly for computer and information technology, as the Levine Campus houses the largest enrollment of this kind of all CPCC campuses.
The first of CPCC's satellite campuses, it was opened in 1990 as the North Center, eventually growing with the addition of the Public Safety building in 1996 and being renamed the North Campus. The campus is located north of Charlotte, in Huntersville, North Carolina. This campus is home to the College's Public Safety and Transportation Systems programs. In 2011 the College renamed the campus to the Merancas Campus, after longtime donor's Casey and Anke Mermans and their Merancas Foundation.
Harris Campus opened in the West Charlotte area in 2001. It is located next to the Charlotte-Douglas International Airport. The campus houses meeting and convention spaces.
- John H. White - American photojournalist, 1982 Pulitzer Prize recipient
- E. Thomas Fisher - Senior Vice President and Global Commercial Chief Information Officer of Oracle Systems
- Calvin Brock - Olympian
- Jay Thomas - American actor, comedian, and radio talk show host
- "Entire College, Student Profile FY 2001-2011" (PDF). Central Piedmont Community College. Retrieved November 16, 2012.
- "Curriculum and Continuing Education Student Enrollment by College" (PDF). North Carolina Community College System. 2007. Retrieved 2012-04-12.
- Jack Claiborne, "Central High Alumni Gather to Remember - And to Be Proud," The Charlotte Observer, November 6, 2002.
- "CPCC starts its birthday party". Charlotte Observer. 2011. Retrieved 2012-04-12.
- Tom Bradbury, "The CPCC Story," The Charlotte Observer, February 25, 1995.
- Diane Suchetka, "Old Central High to Reclaim Proud Name at Fall Reunion," The Charlotte Observer, July 17, 2002.
- "CPCC's building to boom". Charlotte Observer. 2011. Retrieved 2012-04-12.
- Lyttle, Steve (28 March 2001). "New Campus to Spotlight Horticulture". Charlotte Observer. Charlotte.
- Benton, Emily (14 August 2005). "News in Brief". Charlotte Observer. Charlotte.
- Lyttle, Steve (11 March 2007). "CPCC'S Cato Site is a Growing Success". Charlotte Observer. Charlotte.
- Kelley, Pam (31 July 1998). "CPCC Readies Campus in Matthews". Charlotte Observer. Charlotte.
- Suchetka, Diane (23 October 2002). "$5 Million Gift to Aid CPCC Students". Charlotte Observer. Charlotte.
- Suchetka, Diane (22 April 2004). "Rick Hendrick Gives CPCC $1 Million". Charlotte Observer. Charlotte.
- Smith, Celeste (3 September 2006). "Levine Realigns to Stand Out". Charlotte Observer. Charlotte.
- Perlmutt, David (1 July 2011). "CPCC renames North Campus". Charlotte Observer. Charlotte.