College hosts 2021 commencement ceremonies
Central Piedmont Community College hosted multiple commencement ceremonies outdoors on its Overcash Lawn, located in front of Overcash Center on Central Campus, on May 12 and 13, to ensure the celebration of its 2021 graduates was conducted safely and in accordance with NCDHHS and CDC guidelines amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
The following outdoor commencement ceremonies were held:
- Wednesday, May 12, 2021
- 11 a.m.: Health Science programs
- 2 p.m.: Skilled Trades, College and Career Readiness
- Thursday, May 13, 2021
- 9 a.m.: Business, Engineering, and Technology
- 11 a.m.: Transfer Degree Programs
- 2 p.m.: Transfer Degree Programs
More than 800 students from the 2021 spring semester, as well as the 2020 summer and fall semesters, “marched” and received their college degrees during the first outdoor commencement ceremony the college has hosted in 35 years. (The last outdoor ceremony was held in 1986, on the Central Campus Quad.) More than 2,430 students were eligible to graduate this year.
During the May 12 festivities, Mr. Marco Gallardo Cuervo, who graduated from Central Piedmont with an Associate in Applied Science in Welding Technology degree, addressed his fellow graduates. Ms. Emma Hoff, an Associate in Arts student delivered the May 13 commencement address to her peers.This is the fourth consecutive year Central Piedmont has had student keynote speakers at graduation.
- Wednesday, May 12, 2021
College offering increased number of on-campus classes for summer and fall semesters
Central Piedmont Community College will offer an increased number of on-campus, in-person classes during the upcoming summer and fall semesters. The college also plans to offer 1,000 afternoon, evening, and weekend class sections during the fall.
More than a third of Central Piedmont’s summer semester classes, which begin May 17, will include on-campus sessions. The fall 2021 semester will resemble the fall 2019 semester with a majority of class sections being offered on campus.
With pandemic safety protocols in place, Central Piedmont continued offering on-campus classes in programs that require in-person instruction in May 2020. Now, with everyone in North Carolina age 16 and older eligible for the COVID-19 vaccines, the college will expand its on-campus class offerings to include courses that had been offered primarily online since pandemic began.
The college will continue to follow safety practices, such as requiring masks and social distancing indoors, as long as recommended by the N.C. Department Health & Human Services. By the fall semester, class sizes will be back to their pre-COVID levels; usually 20 or fewer students per class.
“Central Piedmont is happy to bring so many classes back to campus this summer and fall,” said Jeff Lowrance, vice president for communications, marketing and public relations. “Students have told us they prefer to attend classes on campus where they can interact with their classmates, talk easily with their instructors, inquire about services in person, and just gain a better sense and feeling of community.
“At the same time, we know many students will be trying to work while going to school, so the college is making a real effort to offer more afternoon, evening, and weekend classes to better meet students’ busy schedules,” Lowrance added.
Central Piedmont will continue to offer a significant number of classes online for students who prefer remote learning or whose schedules or family responsibilities accommodate online classes more readily.
College adds SALUTE Chapter
Central Piedmont’s Military Family and Veterans Services is proud to announce that it has added a SALUTE Veterans National Honor Society to its already impressive list of student clubs and organizations. The Chapter of SALUTE at Central Piedmont will provide veteran students with a rewarding community of resources, opportunities, and support.
“SALUTE Veterans National Honor Society is pleased to be the first and only academic honor society to recognize students who serve their country and community, and who demonstrate outstanding academic performance,” said Karla Schwartz, national director for the SALUTE Veterans National Honor Society. “A Central Piedmont student’s designation into SALUTE Veterans National Honor Society will help distinguish them to employers and educational institutions by signifying their military honorable service, academic excellence, and a commitment to superior success, which can all lead to achieving meaningful employment and educational opportunities in the future.”
The benefits of membership include:
- A certificate and military-style challenge coin commemorating membership
- Access to unique scholarship opportunities
- Assistance with resumes and engagement in local leadership positions
- Opportunities to network, as well as receive and give assistance to fellow student veteran members
- Wear SALUTE Honors regalia to demonstrate academic achievements as a veteran at graduation
- Participate in local and national SALUTE programs
“The Chapter of SALUTE at Central Piedmont will help our student veterans persist and complete,” said Richard Bartell, director of Military Families and Veterans Services at Central Piedmont. “In addition to providing additional scholarships to fund students’ education, the chapter will help them engage and connect with their peers, providing them with the support network they need to achieve their academic goals.”
The honor society application window opens May 2021. For more information on the Chapter of SALUTE at Central Piedmont and how to join, visit Military Families and Veterans Services.
2021 Hagemeyer Educational Advancement and Young Alumni Award of Excellence recipients named
Central Piedmont Community College has named Lynne Tatum Little, RDH, owner of LTL Consulting, the 2021 Richard H. Hagemeyer Educational Advancement Award recipient, and James “Dan” Bailey, president and CEO of Steele’s Mechanical, the 2021 Young Alumni Award of Excellence recipient. The awards recognize former Central Piedmont students who have benefited significantly from experiences at Central Piedmont and whose efforts have helped the community.
Lynne Tatum Little, RDH ‘88 (Associate in Applied Science, Dental Hygiene)
A successful consultant and business owner, Lynne Tatum Little attributes her leadership abilities to her experience at Central Piedmont and the discipline required in her coursework. Lynne owns LTL Consulting and has been active within the dental hygiene profession, serving as commissioner of the American Dental Hygienists’ Association, board member of the North Carolina State Board of Dental Examiners, and past president of the North Carolina Dental Hygienists’ Association. Additionally, she has served on the Central Piedmont Community College Foundation Board since 2016, committing herself to the mission and success of the college as a dedicated volunteer and donor.
James “Dan” Bailey ‘12 (Associate in Arts)
As a U.S. Army military veteran who served as a construction engineer and paratrooper, Dan Bailey has acquired skills that would last him a lifetime. He considers Central Piedmont his home and the place where he gained invaluable leadership skills not to only lead, but also to follow. Today, Dan serves as president and CEO of Steele’s Mechanical, where he has grown the 49-year old HVAC company from a local business to one of the fastest-growing mechanical contractors in the region. He’s accomplished this all while continuing to serve the community as a tutor, coach, and supporter of organizations throughout the Carolinas.
The Richard H. Hagemeyer Educational Advancement Award is named after the college’s first president who served in the position for 23 years. The Young Alumni Award of Excellence was introduced in 2019 to recognize graduates who have completed in the last 10 years and who have made significant contributions to the community in their short time away from Central Piedmont. To learn more about the awards and past recipients, visit the Foundation's website.
Wells Fargo announces significant grants focused on advancing economic mobility and racial equity in Charlotte
Wells Fargo & Company (NYSE: WFC) will deliver more than $3.2 million in grants to address a range of critical community needs across Charlotte, including advancing economic mobility, improving racial equity, supporting minority-owned small businesses and advancing entrepreneurship for the next generation of business leaders.
Wells Fargo CEO Charlie Scharf announced the grants earlier today at a special event held in Biddle Hall and Auditorium, on the campus of Johnson C. Smith University, a Historically Black College and University (HBCU). Johnson C. Smith University and United Way of Central Carolinas will each receive grants for $1 million, while Central Piedmont Community College’s Small Business Resource Center will receive an Open For Business grant from Wells Fargo for $625,000. Other organizations receiving grants include Aspire Community Capital, Charlotte is Creative, City Start-Up Labs, the Latin American Chamber of Commerce, Prospera, and the Women’s Business Center.
“While we are seeing signs of economic improvement, we also realize that not all of our communities are benefiting equally in this recovery,” said Scharf. “That is why Wells Fargo is being intentional about supporting a more inclusive economic recovery, with a focus on racial and social equity, economic mobility and investments in low and moderate income communities. We are pleased to announce these grants for the Charlotte area and will continue to focus on ways we can support positive change.”
The announcements coincide with and help celebrate the return of the Wells Fargo Championship to Charlotte. The PGA TOUR event, which was canceled in 2020 due to COVID-19, has raised more than $24 million for charitable organizations since 2003. The Wells Fargo Championship provides significant economic impact to the Charlotte-area economy – estimated at more than $50 million annually.
Wells Fargo recently announced equity investments in 11 African American Minority Depository Institutions (MDIs) as part of its March 10, 2020, pledge to invest up to $50 million in Black-owned banks. The investments are part of Wells Fargo’s commitment to supporting economic growth in African American communities where MDIs, often community based banks, provide mortgage credit, small business lending, and other banking services. Self Help Credit Union and M&F Bank, two of the MDIs that are receiving funding from Wells Fargo, have branches on Beatties Ford Road.
Making an impact in Charlotte and North Carolina
Wells Fargo has been a longstanding community supporter in Charlotte and across North Carolina. Over the last 10 years, Wells Fargo and the Wells Fargo Foundation have provided nonprofit organizations in North Carolina with more than $190 million in grants. The $3.2 million in grants announced today will support key organizations in their efforts to address critical community needs across Charlotte, including:
- Johnson C. Smith University: Funding will focus on minority student scholarships, experiential learning supporting entrepreneurship and small business ownership, student financial health education and credit score development.
- United Way of Central Carolinas: The grant from the Wells Fargo Community Impact Fund will support economic mobility for low income neighborhoods and advancing racial equity via Unite Charlotte.
- Central Piedmont Community College – Small Business Resource Center: The grant from Wells Fargo’s Open For Business (OFB) fund will be focused on supporting underrepresented small business owners in the Charlotte region. OFB is a roughly $420-million small business recovery effort Wells Fargo created by donating all of the gross processing fees received from participating in the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) in 2020. The OFB Fund provides grants to nonprofits serving small businesses hardest hit by the COVID-19 pandemic, particularly racially and ethnically diverse and women-owned small businesses.
- Aspire Community Capital: The grant will support entrepreneurs from low- and moderate-income (LMI) communities in Charlotte.
- Charlotte is Creative: The grant will impact creatives as entrepreneurs by supporting them with funding, mentorship, business skills training and social capital connections.
- City Start-Up Labs: The grant will focus on helping bridge the entrepreneurial divide where under-represented populations of African American millennials and returning citizens (previously incarcerated) are not adequately and proportionally able to participate in startup activity and business building.
- Latin American Chamber of Commerce of Charlotte: The grant will help fund a business and entrepreneurship hub supporting Hispanic/Latino entrepreneurs and business owners in Charlotte.
- Prospera: The funds will provide bilingual (English/Spanish) assistance to Hispanic small business owners and entrepreneurs in Charlotte.
- Women’s Business Center: The funds will help women-owned businesses in Charlotte start and grow.
About Wells Fargo
Wells Fargo & Company is a leading financial services company that has approximately $1.9 trillion in assets and proudly serves one in three U.S. households and more than 10% of all middle market companies and small businesses in the U.S. We provide a diversified set of banking, investment and mortgage products and services, as well as consumer and commercial finance, through our four reportable operating segments: Consumer Banking and Lending, Commercial Banking, Corporate and Investment Banking, and Wealth and Investment Management. Wells Fargo ranked No. 30 on Fortune’s 2020 rankings of America’s largest corporations. In the communities we serve, the company focuses its social impact on building a sustainable, inclusive future for all by supporting housing affordability, small business growth, financial health and a low-carbon economy. News, insights and perspectives from Wells Fargo are also available at Wells Fargo Stories.
Additional information may be found at www.wellsfargo.com | Twitter: @WellsFargo.
Small Business Center announces the ‘53 Ideas Pitch Competition’
Central Piedmont Community College’s Small Business Center will partner with small business centers in the state’s Southwest region on the 2021 “53 Ideas Pitch Competition.” Sponsored by Fifth Third Bank, this pitch competition is intended to help address income inequality and equity through entrepreneurship. Anyone with an idea has the opportunity to compete for cash awards, plus take advantage of training resources, and find social connections to help remove barriers and to launch a viable business. The top prize winner of the competition will receive $10,000 in seed money for a start-up business.
“Last year, ideas came pouring in across the 10-county region. The community responded, and the response to the ‘53 Ideas’ pitch competition was different. Contestants did not mirror the historical demographics of entrepreneurs,” said Renee Hode, regional director for the NC Small Business Center Network.
More than half of the participants at last year’s competition were women; more than half of them were minorities, with the majority earning less than $50,000 a year.
Studies show that four out of five entrepreneurs do not access bank loans or venture capital. Instead, their sources of funding are personal network, generational wealth or connections to networks. The “53 Ideas Pitch Competition” exists to help lessen this inequality in entrepreneurship.
“Any successful business starts with an idea,” said Lori Thomas, executive director projects and market resources at Central Piedmont. “Share your idea with us, tell us your plan, and Central Piedmont will provide the resources and training to help you make it happen.”
The “53 Ideas Pitch Competition” is an open call for business ideas from residents across the region. Individuals will have 53 seconds to pitch their idea in the form of a video submission that may be uploaded to 53ideas.com. For open, inclusive access, if someone has an idea but does not have the technology to submit an entry they can visit their local small business center for help and access to enter the competition.
Judges will review the submissions and select the top 53 pitches. Top entrants will each receive a $50 award, as well as the opportunity to advance in the competition. Training and coaching on pitching, financing, forecasting, and general business will be available to every participant, even if they do not make the top 53. These free resources will be offered by Small Business Centers located at community colleges throughout the region, including Central Piedmont, Cleveland, Gaston, Mitchell, Rowan-Cabarrus, South Piedmont and Stanly.
After the training period, the top-53 entrants will participate in a closed virtual pitch event, where the judges will narrow the field down to 10. The top 10 will receive $250 each and go on to compete on a virtual stage for the top awards: first place receives $10,000, second place earns $5,000, and third place receives $2,500 in seed funding to help turn their ideas into a viable business.
To learn more about the “53 Ideas Pitch Competition” or to upload a video submission by the May 31 deadline, visit 53ideas.com.
STRIVE Scholars program is building tomorrow’s Pre-K educators
The Mecklenburg County Pre-K initiative, the Foundation for the Carolinas, the Comprehensive Early Learning Center, and the Central Piedmont Foundation have awarded Central Piedmont’s early childhood education program a $4 million grant to create the STRIVE Scholars program.
The program provides full tuition, fees, books, and materials funding to academically qualified students preparing to become educators of young children in Mecklenburg County.
According to research conducted by Mecklenburg County, Charlotte’s workforce lacks the postsecondary education necessary to assure the quality of its lead and assistant Pre-K teachers in the classroom.
The college’s STRIVE Scholars program seeks to address this workforce need by providing students who are pursuing an Associate in Applied Science or certificate in early childhood education with better access to a higher education and need-based support services, including:
- child care
In addition, the program will provide Scholars with comprehensive support services, such as academic advising, mentoring, and more, to ensure their academic success.
The early childhood education program is grateful and excited to be a part of this important initiative to bring universal pre-kindergarten to Mecklenburg County. Learn more about the STRIVE Scholarship.
Student awarded Walgreens Pharmacy Technician Certification Scholarship
Liliane Kouam Kengne, a pharmacy technology student at Central Piedmont, has been selected as one of only 30 students to receive Phi Theta Kappa’s Fall Walgreens Pharmacy Technician Certification Scholarship.
The Walgreens Pharmacy Technician Certification Scholarship recognizes students who are enrolled in allied health or pharmacy technician programs who intend to take the Pharmacy Technician Certification Exam.
As this year’s recipient, Liliane will receive a $130 scholarship award to cover the cost of her exam fees.
To be eligible, students:
- must be currently enrolled in allied health or pharmacy technician programs through December 2021
- must be eligible to take the Pharmacy Technician Certification Exam in the semester following the award
- should know financial need, demonstration of career goals, academic rigor and community service may be considered during the selection process
“Liliane is a perceptive, sharp, and quick individual who possesses a high aptitude for pharmacy-related material,” said Karen Garner, pharmacy technology program chair and instructor at Central Piedmont. “She is an excellent recipient for this scholarship. She’s always learning and growing as a learner, an impressive strength that will continue to serve her well in college and beyond.”
Johnson C. Smith University Announces Direct Admission Program with Central Piedmont Community College
Today, leadership for Johnson C. Smith University and Central Piedmont Community College announced “JCSU Connect”– a new bachelor’s degree pathway that will expand college access to more students in Charlotte-Mecklenburg and beyond. This new collaboration is part of JCSU President Clarence D. Armbrister’s mission to help address the lack of economic upward mobility in Charlotte by providing local students a guided pathway to earn bachelor’s degrees from JCSU.
“For more than 150 years, JCSU has been a leader in providing educational access,” said Armbrister. “As the University continues to focus on providing opportunities to address economic upward mobility in Charlotte, we look forward to this new partnership with Central Piedmont Community College to assist those seeking bachelor’s degrees and experience Charlotte’s HBCU, the only HBCU in partnership with Central Piedmont.”
JCSU Connect is a “2+2” program, meaning participating students will complete an associate degree at Central Piedmont and a bachelor’s degree at JCSU. During the first two years of study, students in the JCSU Connect Program will take classes at Central Piedmont and engage in intentional career and academic workshops at JCSU. During the third-year, students will enroll at JCSU and be placed in an on-campus paid internship (via federal work study) at JCSU that correlates with their field of study. During the final year of study, participants will complete their academic program at JCSU and engage in experiential learning, including internships and undergraduate research.
“We are excited to partner with Johnson C. Smith University and thrilled to offer this pathway to our students,” said Dr. Kandi Deitemeyer, Central Piedmont president. “JCSU Connect will be a wonderful program for our students who want to earn a four-year degree. We know they will flourish at JCSU. At the same time, this transfer program is another great example of the higher education community in Charlotte working together to build more avenues to opportunity and enhance our community’s economic mobility.”
Students succeed at NY National Model UN Conference
Eleven Central Piedmont students joined thousands of university students, more than half of which matriculated from outside the United States, in the National Model United Nations (MUN) New York 2021 Conference.
Participating in this year’s conference were Central Piedmont students Aakriti Lakshmanan, Aiden Keith, Anthony Kabala, Ashley Braswell, Barbara Batista, Christelle Valentin, Davidson Valmyr, Gwen Thompson, Otisia Bryan, Richard Dougherty and Skyler McNeely.
The MUN Club represented the delegation of The Republic of El Salvador and discussed current global issues in a real-world context. The team performed well, receiving the “Distinguished Delegation” Award for its great committee participation, remaining in character, and proper use of rules of procedure. In addition to receiving team honors, Aakriti Lakshmanan received the “Outstanding Position Paper in a Committee” award, as well as the “Outstanding Delegate in a Committee” award.
Central Piedmont’s Model UN Club is overseen by faculty advisors Teresa Hall and Camelia Taheri.