Fidel Dennis' journey is one of perseverance and grit. He first learned about Central Piedmont from a family member who attended the college after moving to the area from another state. In an effort to improve his grades, he too, started his collegiate education at Central Piedmont. However, that was his sole goal with his eyes set on attending a four-year institution as soon as possible.
he met a lot of people and being in college was an exciting time, after one year he transferred to another institution to pursue civil engineering. Quickly he found the experience to be different, mainly due to no longer being able to receive in-state tuition. Finances were becoming a great strain. This experience led him back to Central Piedmont, but with a renewed sense of dedication and focus.
Upon his return to Central Piedmont, Fidel utilized the available resources, made deeper connections, and even met his now wife. In 2017 he received an Associate of Applied Science degree in architectural technology with honors and a job offer in hand.
As a young adult and Liberian immigrant, he is thankful for the growth that his educational journey and transition to the United States yielded. Many of the lessons he has gained and his ability to embrace change is detailed in the book "Alien Adulthood."
Today, he works with Bluescope as an engineering detailer, ensuring prefab steel structures are designed in accordance with regulations. Every day he is inspired by the people who have helped him along the way -- family, teachers, professors. He strives to continually gain knowledge that he can in turn share with others.
He encourages current and future students alike to "see the opportunities that are within sight -- the meaningful experiences, knowledge, and skills for your future goals -- and go for it!"
Share your own Central Piedmont journey and successes to be considered for a future spotlight.Read more
Central Piedmont Community College recognized James "Jim" W. Allison, a long-time Central Piedmont benefactor and respected Charlotte lawyer, by naming Room 1221 of the Zeiss Building on the college's Central Campus, the "James W. Allison Classroom" in honor of his 17-year relationship with the college.
The college will use Room 1221 for paralegal technology instruction beginning in 2022, when its paralegal program relocates from Cato Campus to Central Campus. The classroom naming aligns perfectly with Mr. Allison's professional interests he dedicated his career to working as a business lawyer, working primarily for Johnston, Allison & Hord PA. There, he helped counsel a number of clients representing the higher education, real estate, and healthcare fields including Central Piedmont Community College.
Over the years, Mr. Allison has served as the college's legal counsel, helping its leadership acquire facilities/property across the county to help expand its footprint to meet the needs of students and the community.
However, his contributions to the college's growth extend beyond his legal work. He and his wife Judy a Central Piedmont Board of Trustees member since 2010 have generously donated their time and resources to Central Piedmont, establishing the Judith N. & James W. Allison Endowed Scholarship to support students in the paralegal program (with a veteran preference), and the Johnston, Allison & Hord Scholarship to support students in the college's paralegal program.
"Jim and Judy have been generous supporters of the college, establishing endowed scholarship funds to extend opportunities to financially-needy students in our paralegal program," said Kandi Deitemeyer, president of Central Piedmont. "This generosity has made it possible for numerous students to prepare for meaningful careers as paralegals. The gift to name this classroom will increase available scholarship resources and provide additional life-transforming financial assistance to students."
The Central Piedmont Annual Report is ready to view online at cpccfoundation.org/annualreport.
Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic during 2020-2021, the college continued to serve as the community's college, providing the support services, courses, and career training its students needed to stay on track, within an environment that fostered a culture of care.
We are grateful for the continued support of our donors, industry partners, and friends who believe in our vision of providing learning experiences that transform lives and strengthen the local community.
Please enjoy this interactive reading experience, while learning more about our 2020-2021 accomplishments and celebrating our many successes with us through videos, photos, and more.Read more
On Oct. 27, approximately 50 Central Piedmont Opportunity Scholars gathered in the Worrell Gym, located on Central Piedmont's Central Campus, to participate in a special "Spread the Love" event.
During their time together, the students:
- prepared 300 peanut butter and jelly sandwiches to be delivered to Central Piedmont's local community neighbors Roof Above and Angels and Sparrows.
- assembled 60 hygiene kits. Thirty kits (each) were delivered to Project Outpour and Hoskins Park.
Each month, the college's Office of Mentoring and Bridge hosts bi-weekly Pop Series workshops to help Opportunity Scholarship recipients bridge the transition between high school and college by informing students of campus resources in an attempt to sharpen their self-advocacy skills, learn the importance of professional communication, and maintain a healthy work/life balance. Workshop attendance is required for all first-year Opportunity Scholars, while second-year Opportunity Scholarship students have the choice to attend.
The Mentoring and Bridge team changes the workshop theme monthly to reflect an area that can best benefit students. Featured themes have included and / or will include study habits and learning (September), health and fitness (November), and stress management (December). The Spread the Love event held on Oct. 27 supported the team's October theme community and giving back.Read more
Gabriel J. Esparza and Khalif J. Rhodes, both of Charlotte, have been appointed by the Mecklenburg Board of County Commissioners to the Central Piedmont Community College Board of Trustees.
Esparza is a seasoned executive with more than 25 years of experience leading businesses spanning both large corporations and nimble start-ups. He serves as both advisor and investor in a variety of entrepreneurial ventures. In one notable example, he played an integral part of the success story at RapidSOS a gov-tech platform that radically transformed the way people communicate with 911, making it a data-driven experience that transmits precise location and other critical information to first responders.
Esparza's term on the Central Piedmont board runs through June 2023. He holds an MBA from Harvard Business School and a BA in International Relations and Psychology from Stanford University.
Rhodes is an attorney and founder of The Rhodes Firm, PLLC. He established the firm in 2012, after earning his J.D. and LL.M., from Thomas M. Cooley Law School. During his tenure at The Rhodes Firm, he has assisted various small to medium-sized businesses in the areas of mergers and acquisitions, corporate compliance and due diligence. In 2017, he was appointed the Chief Magistrate of the 26th Judicial District. Under his guidance, Mecklenburg County attempted to address the significant disparities in the criminal justice system. He was a part of a team that re-wrote Mecklenburg County's bail policy.
Rhodes' appointment as a Central Piedmont Trustee runs through June 2025. In addition to his law degrees, he earned a BA in Political Science from Pennsylvania State University.
"I am excited to welcome Mr. Esparza and Mr. Rhodes to the Central Piedmont Board of Trustees," said Dr. Kandi Deitemeyer, Central Piedmont president. "This is an important period in the history of the college as we endeavor to help so many Mecklenburg County residents rebuild their careers or start their higher education journeys in the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic. The college will rely on its Board of Trustees for experienced insight and wise counsel."
Mark de Gruchy enjoyed the freedom that Central Piedmont gave him to not only find himself, but to also build the foundation of his personal beliefs and approach to business.
Education was Mark's way out of working retail after being launched into the workforce from challenging high school experiences that relegated him to roles that lacked promotional opportunities. Earning his associate degree in 2015 gave him the confidence he could do anything. The ability to "complete" something sparked a never-ending thirst for knowledge. Since receiving his Associate in Arts, he has completed his bachelor's and master's degrees, with the ultimate goal of pursuing a doctorate, to conduct research that continues to cultivate his interests.
He is beyond thankful for the numerous teachers who helped him along the way. While their names escape him, their faces he will never forget. They include: the biology instructor who took the time to help him figure out how to make the material "click," the teacher in the math emporium who became an ongoing point of contact to address concerns, or the public speaking teacher who encouraged him to be himself and speak his voice. These seemingly miniscule acts impacted his life greatly and helped facilitate his goals. Central Piedmont showed him that while "life might throw roadblocks in your way, you are unique and there is a place in the world for your passions; it is only a matter of shining them up so they can sparkle like the beautiful diamonds we all are."
Today, Mark blends his interest in sociology, economics, social justice, art, and business as a marketing manager for a local Charlotte chain and owner of a freelance design business. His graphic design skills have landed him deals and featured designs with Hot Topic, Cartoon Network, All Elite Wrestling, World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE), and TNT. He has also authored and published his own book.
Mark would like to remind current and future students that "if you're unsure of the path you're taking, it is that feeling of uncertainty that leads to growth. You've already made the first step by having an interest in your education. The rest of it will figure itself out."
Share your own Central Piedmont journey and successes to be considered for a future spotlight.
Central Piedmont Community College today dedicated the Leon Levine Health Sciences Center on the college's Central Campus. The naming is in recognition of a $2.5-million grant from The Leon Levine Foundation to support health sciences education and health careers preparation at Central Piedmont.
College leaders and community partners including Dr. Kandi Deitemeyer, president, Central Piedmont; Linda Lockman-Brooks, chair, Board of Trustees, Central Piedmont; Weston M. Andress, president, Board of Trustees, Central Piedmont Community College Foundation; and Thomas W. Lawrence III, president and director, The Leon Levine Foundation were in attendance at the 11 a.m., ribbon cutting event.
"Not many partnerships last 20 years and yet today, we write the beginning of another chapter in this amazing story [between Central Piedmont and The Leon Levine Foundation]," said Lawrence. "What has happened in this particular 20-year partnership? Hundreds of students educated, thousands of lives transformed, and now, with this grant, the crossing of $10 million of investment entrusted to Central Piedmont by The Leon Levine Foundation."
The Leon Levine Health Sciences Center opened its doors in August 2020, and boasts 74,450 square-feet of space. The facility was designed by Creech & Associates, working with Morris-Berg Architects; was constructed by Rodgers; and provides a home base for multiple health professions programs, including:
- dental assisting
- biomedical equipment technology
- surgical technology
It also hosts a state-of-the-art virtual-anatomy classroom.
The Leon Levine Foundation grant comes to the college as part of its ongoing "Powering a Stronger Future Campaign," which seeks to raise $40 million to support students, programs, and faculty development.
View photos of the dedication event.
The Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion (EDI) Council at Central Piedmont brought civil rights icon and former Charlotte Mayor Harvey Gantt to Central Piedmont's Halton Theater stage on Oct. 14, to serve as a panelist during its EDI event titled, "A Story of Perseverance in Driving Change."
Mr. Gantt was joined on stage by moderator Dr. Charles Mitchell, equity and opportunity presidential fellow at Central Piedmont, as well as panelists Dr. Tracie Clark, vice president for strategy and organizational excellence, and Dr. Chris Cathcart, vice president for student affairs, at Central Piedmont.
During the event, Central Piedmont employees and students had the opportunity to hear the group discuss the power of collaboration and allyship in creating change and moving the EDI needle in a positive direction, and how Central Piedmont can continue pushing forward in supporting its students and the Charlotte community.
"Central Piedmont is a very special place. This institution - at its most critical level - allows folks from all circumstances in life to get on a ladder of mobility upward," explained Gantt. "I like the word 'transformation.' Central Piedmont makes a difference in the things that students can do. It puts individuals on a ladder, that can be built as high as they want it ... and that's why the college is a very important place. I've tried over the years to understand its value to the community and to be as supportive of it whenever I can."
Mr. Gantt was Charlotte's first African-American mayor and the first African-American student enrolled at Clemson University. His visit is one of the enrichment opportunities the college is using to help advance its EDI strategy, which college leadership has identified as mission-critical work. Over the past year, Central Piedmont has hosted a number of EDI related events for both its employees and students to attend. Examples include: inclusive leadership trainings, Black History Month events, inclusive teaching practice sessions, examining best EDI practices from other institutions, courageous conversations, and more.
Central Piedmont is offering such events to foster the growth of its employees and the institution as a whole. The goal is to deliver a superior collegiate experience for students that supports their success both personally and professionally, while embedding an enhanced EDI philosophy and awareness in the college's daily practices and processes.Read more
Central Piedmont Community College will launch the Dickson Practical Nursing Program in January, with the start of the spring 2022 semester. The 11-month, three-semester diploma program will open with a class of 18 students. The North Carolina Board of Nursing has approved Central Piedmont to establish and offer the program.
Graduates of the Dickson Practical Nursing Program will be eligible to apply to take the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-PN), which is required for practice as a licensed practical nurse (LPN). LPNs work under the supervision of a registered nurse (RN), with employment opportunities found in hospitals; rehabilitation, long-term care, and home health facilities; clinics; and physicians' offices. LPNs serve an important role in the healthcare delivery system, ensuring quality care for patients. They assist physicians and RNs in providing critical and essential services, including monitoring patients' vital signs and supervising nursing assistants and collaborating with other members of the healthcare team.
The Dickson Foundation of Charlotte awarded Central Piedmont a $500,000 grant to develop a new LPN program at the college to provide students an accelerated path to a meaningful, family-sustaining career in the healthcare industry and address specific employment needs within the Charlotte region's healthcare sector. The Dickson Practical Nursing Program will enable students to earn their professional credential in one year, preparing them for employment more quickly. This is especially important, given the median LPN salary is $48,055, which offers a viable economic-mobility pathway for lower-income residents in Charlotte-Mecklenburg.
After opening the program with 18 students, Central Piedmont will expand the second class to 24 seats. The college will monitor local needs for LPNs and will adjust the size of future classes to meet demand. The program will be based on the Central Campus.
Individuals interested in learning more about the Dickson Licensed Practical Nursing Program at Central Piedmont can contact Jeanette Cheshire, the college's associate dean of nursing and nurse aid, at 704.330.6451 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Central Piedmont Community College dedicated the Ruth G. Shaw Advanced Technology Center, located on the college's Central Campus, on Sept. 24. Dr. Shaw served as the college's second president from 1986 to 1992. She attended and spoke at the dedication ceremony.
The 79,194 square-foot Advanced Technology Center is a cutting-edge, state-of-the-art advanced manufacturing, engineering, logistics, and energy-related careers training facility that opened in 2018. Its prominent location on Central Piedmont's Central Campus points to its importance in developing a highly-skilled workforce in Mecklenburg County and the college's ongoing efforts to provide opportunities for increased economic mobility.
Constructed by Rodgers Builders, the $25.5 million facility was designed by FWA Group with LTArchitecture and features:
- Mechatronics and Automation Labs
- Virtual Reality Labs
- An Engineering FabLab
- A CNC Machining Lab
- Electrical and Mechanical Engineering Labs
- 13 Computer Labs
- 11 Specialized Equipment Labs
- Faculty and Staff Offices
- An accessibility bridge to the next door Levine IT Building
"The Ruth G. Shaw Advanced Technology Center has become the cornerstone of our technology driven advanced manufacturing and engineering programs. It is a state-of-the-art training facility with which the college is proud to honor Dr. Ruth Shaw's legacy," said Dr. Kandi Deitemeyer, Central Piedmont president. "From our two-year associate degree students to the incumbent workers who come here to learn new skills, the Ruth G. Shaw Advanced Technology Center is helping advanced manufacturing, engineering, and logistics expand their importance to the Mecklenburg County employment base and overall economy."
View photos of the dedication event.
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