Central Piedmont Community College has provided educational opportunities since 1963, when the North Carolina General Assembly passed the historic state community college bill. Opening as a fully integrated institution, the college combined the Central Industrial Education Center programs on Elizabeth Avenue and Mecklenburg College on Beatties Ford Road. On Sept.18, the college will mark 60 years since it first opened its doors to students and began its work of service to the community.
Today, with six campuses and two centers, Central Piedmont offers nearly 300 degree, diploma, and certificate programs, plus an array of non-credit offerings. Central Piedmont enrolls approximately 43,600 students annually in for-credit programs, continuing education, and basic skills courses, making it one of the largest colleges in the Carolinas. Over the years, over 100,000 individuals have earned credentials at Central Piedmont.
Central Piedmont became a multi-campus community college in the early 1990s, with the conversion of the North Area Learning Center in Huntersville to the North Campus, which then became the Merancas Campus in 2011. Four other campuses subsequently opened--Levine in 1998, Harper in 1999, Harris in 2001, and Cato in 2002.
In 2012, Central Piedmont acquired WTVI, the Charlotte region's PBS TV station located on Commonwealth Avenue in Charlotte. In 2013, the college renovated and repurposed its City View Center on Alleghany Street to house a new cosmetology degree program.
In 2013, Mecklenburg County voters dramatically supported Central Piedmont, approving $210 million in bonds for land purchases, new construction, and renovations. The college used the $210 million, plus $70 million in other county funding, to add almost one million square feet of new laboratory, classroom, and office space across five of its six campuses. The final project funded by the 2013 bonds proved to be the largest in the college's history. The 184,0000-square-foot Parr Center opened on the Central Campus in 2022, providing a new 21st-century library, a student union with a welcome center, a 430-seat theater, an art gallery, and dozens of spaces for students to meet, study, and relax.
Also in 2022, Central Piedmont completed its five-year "Powering a Stronger Future" fundraising campaign. The effort proved a tremendous success, raising more than $66.3 million. More than 3,270 donors made gifts and pledges to the campaign, with more than half of the benefactors giving to the college for the first time. Power a Stronger Future opened with a $40-million goal, making it the most ambitious campaign in Central Piedmont's history. When the campaign closed, it had surpassed its goal by more than $26 million, setting a new, all-time fundraising record for the college.
"We are proud as the college celebrates its 60th anniversary," said Dr. Kandi Deitemeyer, Central Piedmont president since 2017. "Over the decades, Central Piedmont has grown into a large, comprehensive college and Mecklenburg County's primary workforce development partner. Even though Central Piedmont is a mature college and one of the bedrock institutions in the Charlotte-Mecklenburg community, its best days lie before us. We will continually seek to enhance our service to students, helping them find a path to success and a better future for each of them and their families."
Using its social media channels, the college has been sharing historical facts and figures for several weeks leading up to Sept. 18. Students and employees will enjoy ice cream socials at each of the six campuses during the anniversary week. Over the next 12 months, college advertising will include an anniversary call out, "60 years of serving our community."