Feature: Happy Presidents' Day

last modified Feb 18, 2013 10:43 AM

Happy Presidents' Day! As you know, this holiday is held to honor the birthday of our first president, George Washington, as well as his many successors. Today, I'd like to highlight some of the presidential figures who have visited CPCC.

The first president to have even a small impact on CPCC was President Richard Nixon. While he did not visit CPCC directly, he had a small impact on our school when he came to Charlotte on October 16, 1971 to celebrate Billy Graham's birthday. A motorcade with President Nixon and Mr. Graham drove down Elizabeth Avenue, through CPCC's Central Campus, and many students and staff members joined the crowds for the occasion.

Though George H. W. Bush never visited CPCC, Barbara Bush visited twice during the 1980s. Her first visit to the school was on March 21, 1985. She visited an Adult Basic Literacy (ABLE) center and participated in a ceremony to honor graduates of the program. Mrs. Bush was so impress with the ABLE program that she visited a second time, in 1988.

In 1987, President Jimmy Carter visited Charlotte to work with Habitat for Humanity on the construction of over a dozen homes in the Charlotte area. In this photo, Chip Hope, a CPCC horticulture instructor, presents President Carter with a CPCC t-shirt.

In April 1992, Hillary Clinton visited the Double Oaks Literacy Center while campaigning for her husband, Bill Clinton. But once elected, President Clinton took the time to also visit CPCC. On July 10, 1996, President Clinton made a major speech on college tuition and job training at community colleges across the country from an outdoor stage on Central Campus. He was joined by Dr. Zeiss, a student representative and members of the Board of Trustees.

President George W. Bush visited CPCC twice during his presidency. His first visit was on April 5, 2004 when he addressed a crowd of about 600 people--many of them CPCC staff members--to announce a national initiative on workforce development. His second visit was two years later, on April 6, 2006. That speech was an invite-only event during which President Bush discussed war and foreign policy.

Finally, though President Barack Obama has not yet visited CPCC, he did highlight CPCC's efforts to train dislocated workers in his 2012 State of the Union address. Jackie Bray, a CPCC student, was specifically mentioned in the speech. She was an invited guest of Michelle Obama and sat in the First Lady's box during the event.

I believe we at CPCC can look forward to many more presidential events in our future!