Feature: Founding of CPCC

last modified Jul 02, 2013 11:49 AM

Central Piedmont Community College was formed on July 1, 1963. It was created by the merger of two schools: Mecklenburg College and the Central Industrial Education Center.

Mecklenburg College, formerly known as Carver College, opened in 1949 to serve black veterans returning from World War II. The school was operated by the Charlotte City School Board before becoming part of the Charlotte Community College System in 1958. In 1961, Carver College was renamed Mecklenburg College and the campus was moved to new facilities off Beatties Ford Road.

The Central Industrial Education Center (CIEC) was established in Charlotte in 1959. The school was part of the larger Industrial Education Center system, which had been established in 1958 to address the educational needs of adults in North Carolina. The schools provided technical and business training, pre-employment training, hobby and leisure classes, and opportunities to improved occupational skills. The CIEC was housed in the Central High Building on Elizabeth Avenue.

On July 1, 1963 the North Carolina General Assembly passed the Community College Act, which effectively created the school that would become known as CPCC. The predominately black Mecklenburg College would merge with the predominately white CIEC in order to create a single integrated institution. Because of this merger, CPCC was able to build on the faculties and curriculum already in place at each of the schools. For example, Mecklenburg College was recognized for its strong secretarial program and the CIEC had well-regarded automotive mechanics, construction trade, and practical nursing programs.

The administrators of this new school had to work fast to be ready for students in the fall of 1963. State and local officials met to appoint a board of trustees and created a budget for the school in September 1963. The group also chose the school's first president by unanimous consent: Dr. Richard H. Hagemeyer, who had been serving as the assistant superintendent of the Charlotte-Mecklenburg School System and the director of the CIEC. The creation of the school happened so fast that it wasn't even until November 18, 1963 that the school's name was chosen! (Other candidates for names included Hornet's Nest College and South Central College.)

More photographs and documents from this exciting time in our school's history are on display in the second floor atrium of the Learning Resources Center on Central Campus. The story of CPCC is also told in greater detail in CPCC: The First 30 Years by Carol Timblin.