Alumni Highlight - Dr. Deninne Pritchett '10

Dr. Deninne Pritchett is an alumna, current chair of Psychology, creator of the Adjunct Faculty Learning Community, and facilitator for the Diversified Teaching Practices Learning Commons at Central Piedmont Community College.Dr. Deninne Pritchett

What's interesting is, it was not that long ago she was a student here and the inspiration for becoming a life-long learner started at Central Piedmont!

In 2010, she earned her Associate in Arts degree, thanks to the outstanding faculty she engaged with at Central Piedmont. After graduation, she stayed in touch with faculty, found tremendous support and encouragement, participated in forums at Central Piedmont, and developed her leadership skills through employment and professional development.

Pritchett holds a Ph.D. in Psychology, as well as an Association of College and University Educators (ACUE) Certificate in Effective College Instruction; she presented for the National Association of African American Studies and the American Psychological Association; and is a featured expert in ACUE's courses.

It wasn't always an easy journey for her, however. She began her college experience as a teen mother, at age 18. "I dropped out of college four times, even from Central Piedmont once before I returned and experienced success," Pritchett says. 

"Educating students and changing lives is serious business. One encounter--positively or negatively can change the trajectory of a student's educational journey. It did for me. As you can see, this college changed my life. If I can do for one student what this college has done for me, I consider it a win." Read more

Posted in Alumni, Foundation News.

Central Piedmont Offering New Certification Program in Massage Therapy

Central Piedmont Community College will launch a nine-month, non-credit Massage Therapy Certification program on June 27, through its Corporate and Continuing Education division.

The certification program will offer students a hands-on education and extensive training in therapeutic and medical massage techniques to prepare them to sit for and pass the Massage and Bodywork Licensing Examination (MBLEx), a license all professional massage therapists must earn to legally practice their craft in 49 of the 50 states across the country.  

"Our massage therapy certificate program is an attractive career path for individuals interested in securing a healthcare-related position, in a short amount of time, that offers an earning potential of $42,750 a year," said Roschella Stephens, associate dean, therapy and acute care division at Central Piedmont. "This program also will be the least expensive massage therapy program in the Charlotte-Mecklenburg area, which aligns well with the college's mission to provide an affordable education to all." 

Sixteen students are expected to be in the program's first cohort this summer. During the program, they'll learn about the fundamentals of massage therapy, anatomy, physiology, and advanced modalities in the field, and have the opportunity to engage in 114 hours of hands-on training through the program's built-in clinical rotation.

For more information about the new certification program in massage therapy at Central Piedmont, including its program requirements, class days/times, course sequencing, and more, contact Marcus Caldwell by emailing marcus.caldwell@cpcc.edu, calling 704.330.2722, ext. 7234  or visiting cpcc.edu/programs/healthcare-continuing-education.

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Posted in Alumni, Announcements, Foundation News, Resources, Students.

WBTV Story: CMS Student Already Living His Dream As Mechanic

Omar Cruz is not only a student at Phillip O. Berry Academy of Technology, he's also a student at Central Piedmont.

Thanks to CMS' apprenticeship program and a partial scholarship from Central Piedmont, Omar currently attends both schools through the college's Career & College Promise Dual Enrollment program, an initiative that gives qualified high-school-age students the opportunity to get a jumpstart on their career or college education while still in high school -- tuition free. 

Each morning, from 7 a.m. 10:30 a.m., Omar can be found at Phillip O. Berry Academy of Technology, and in the afternoons, he's working under the hood of a car at Mecklenburg Automotive and Collision Center, gaining the valuable hands-on experience he'll need to pursue his dream career as a Advanced Certified Expert (ACE) certified technician.

The amazing part of Omar's story is he's only a teenager. At 17, he's already earned two certifications and a license from Central Piedmont, will graduate in mid-June from Phillip O. Berry with a diploma from CMS, and begin Central Piedmont this fall.

See the full WBTV story here: https://www.wbtv.com/2022/05/17/never-too-early-start-cms-student-already-living-his-dream-mechanic/

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Posted in Alumni, Community, Foundation News.

ATD Network Recognizes Central Piedmont As Leader College

Central Piedmont is now recognized as a leader college in the Achieving the Dream (ATD) Network.

Leader College certification metrics require colleges to provide four years of data and highlight a three-year upward trend on the two metrics selected in the All Students (Overall) group. Colleges must demonstrate, through disaggregation, the narrowing of an equity gap on at least one student characteristic on one or more metrics. Central Piedmont was successful in increasing completion and narrowing equity gaps in completion of gatekeeper English and gatekeeper Math classes.

A hallmark of the Achieving The Dream experience is to recognize exemplar institutions that have identified and implemented strategies that have been proven to be successful over time through the designation of Leader College status that indicates that every person who is affiliated with the institution is committed to ensuring student success for all of its students.

Learn more about Achieving the Dream.

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Posted in Alumni, Announcements, Foundation News.

TowneBank Commits $300,000 Gift to Central Piedmont's ACT Program

TowneBank has made a $300,000 gift commitment to Central Piedmont Community College to support its Accelerated Career Training (ACT) program. Launched in 2018, the program seeks to address the economic mobility challenges many under-employed adults in Mecklenburg County encounter by providing them with short-term training tracks, no-cost job training, and the support services they need to become work-ready in as little as seven to 15 weeks.

Each learning track prepares students for jobs that are available now in Mecklenburg County. They include:

  • Commercial Driver's License (CDL) / Truck Driving
  • HVAC
  • Nurse Aide and Phlebotomy
  • Information Technology Fundamentals
  • Culinary Apprentice
  • Early Childhood Education
  • Emergency Medical Technician (EMT)

All ACT students are enrolled concurrently in career readiness classes, receive academic and career counseling, attend "Working Smart: Soft Skills for Workplace Success" classes, and have access to a variety of Central Piedmont's other student services. All program costs, including tuition, fees, books, and services are covered for each student as well.

"Our thanks are extended to TowneBank for investing in our ACT program which is designed to help local residents step up from a job and into a career," said Dr. Kandi Deitemeyer, president of Central Piedmont. "Central Piedmont is in the life transformation business and this gift reflects our mission by equipping countless individuals with the skills and knowledge required to lift themselves out of poverty and obtain a family sustaining career."

As an added benefit, ACT students earn college credits in many of the tracks. These credits will give them a head start should they choose to pursue additional, advanced training or a two-year associate degree.

"The Accelerated Career Training program at Central Piedmont is making an immediate impact on people and families in greater Charlotte," said Bob Aston, TowneBank executive chairman. "The program enables underemployed and unemployed individuals to take the next steps toward a brighter future through dedicated career tracks, making a lasting impact on the graduate, their family, and the entire community. With our focus on serving others and enriching lives, TowneBank sees a natural fit in supporting this transformational program and helping sustain it into the future."  

The college works with local agencies to identify candidates for the ACT program. For more information about the ACT program at Central Piedmont, visit cpcc.edu/programs/accelerated-career-training. To attend an ACT information session, visit cpcc.edu/events/accelerated-career-training-information-session.

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Posted in Alumni, Announcements, Foundation News.

Central Piedmont To Open Eye Clinic June 15

Thanks to a collaboration between Lions Services, the local ophthalmic community, and Central Piedmont Community College, the college will open an eye clinic in its Leon Levine Health Sciences building, located on its Central Campus, on June 15. The clinic will provide quality eye health care to Central Piedmont students and Charlotte community members who are in need.

Lions Services, a not-for-profit organization renowned for offering free vision exams and glasses to those within the community who needed financial assistance, closed its eye clinic on March 1, 2022, after more than 25 years of service.

Recognizing a need for local individuals to continue to have access to affordable eye care and prescription glasses, Central Piedmont's Ophthalmic Medical Personnel program will assume the role of Lions Services' eye clinic within Charlotte-Mecklenburg and open an eye clinic this spring. The clinic will offer a variety of services, including comprehensive eye exams and eye glasses at no cost.

"We're honored to fill the eye health care void created by the closing of Lions Services' eye clinic earlier this year," said Kathleen Rodgers, program chair for Central Piedmont's Ophthalmic Medical Personnel program. "It's proven that access to affordable eye care allows all members of the population from children to senior citizens to thrive and enjoy an improved quality of life. As Charlotte's community college, local residents rely on us to provide them with accessible services. Our new eye clinic will give us the opportunity to continue this tradition."

Lions Services is donating all of its eye equipment and supplies to Central Piedmont for its use. In addition, ophthalmic community members who donated their time and energy to providing eye care services at Lions Services eye clinic, will begin volunteering at Central Piedmont's eye clinic when it opens June 15. The college's Ophthalmic Medical Personnel students and faculty will also provide clinical services.

"We are so fortunate that our eye clinic patients will benefit from the vast knowledge and expertise of Charlotte's experienced eye care professionals who previously served at Lions Services" said Rodgers. "In addition to our patients receiving the quality care they deserve, the clinic will give our Ophthalmic Medical Personnel students a valuable clinical opportunity as well. The initiative is truly a win-win for all involved."

"We are very appreciative for this commitment by Central Piedmont to ensure continued eye care for Charlotte's citizens in need. Hundreds of Charlotteans will benefit each month from this service," said Dr. David Ugland, a retired ophthalmologist and former volunteer at Lions Services' eye clinic. "As a volunteer ophthalmologist at Lions, I was reminded with each exam of the positive personal and community impact of the clinic. I am grateful that Central Piedmont will continue to provide this valuable service."

Central Piedmont's Ophthalmic Medical Personnel program is currently accepting applications for the fall 2022 semester. To learn more, please visit cpcc.edu/programs/ophthalmic-medical-personnel or email kathleen.rodgers@cpcc.edu.

To make a donation in support of Central Piedmont's new eye clinic, please contact the Central Piedmont Foundation at 704.330.6869.

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Posted in Alumni, Announcements, Community, Foundation News.

College Confers First Honorary Degree to Wilton L. Parr

On May 11, Dr. Deitemeyer, president of Central Piedmont, conferred the college's first honorary degree to Mr. Wilton L. Parr, during the college's 2 p.m., commencement ceremony.

Mr. Parr received an Honorary Associate Degree in Arts in recognition of his long-time engagement as a Central Piedmont student, volunteer, and donor.

A native of Danville, Virginia, Wilton L. Parr graduated from Virginia Polytechnic Institute (now Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University) in 1951 with a bachelor of science degree in engineering. In 1967, he moved to Charlotte to begin a long, distinguished career in senior leadership positions with Piedmont Natural Gas. He and his wife Mary raised their two sons in Charlotte and continue to reside here.

Upon retiring from the company at the age of 65, Mr. Parr began a second career as a student at Central Piedmont Community College. Over the span of 12 years, he enrolled in more than 100 courses. All these courses were in arts and humanities disciplines, ranging from English

literature to studio arts courses. Through this process of ongoing education, he became an accomplished painter and sculptor. He is the personification and embodiment of the term "lifelong learner." In addition to taking classes, Mr. Parr volunteered as a tutor and mentor to students in the college's adult literacy program.

As a student and volunteer, Mr. Parr developed a lasting appreciation for the quality of Central Piedmont's range of academic offerings and classroom instruction and its importance to the Charlotte community. This appreciation is underscored by his remarkable generosity to the college over the past 25 years, which includes support for faculty, instruction, and programming in the arts and sciences, as well as scholarships. This remarkable record of philanthropy has been acknowledged with the naming of prominent college facilities in honor of Wilton and Mary Parr. He stands as the largest individual benefactor in college history. The transformational impact of his philanthropy cannot be overstated.

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Posted in Alumni, Announcements, Foundation News.

Central Piedmont Holds 2022 Commencement

Central Piedmont Community College today hosted its 2021-2022 commencement ceremony at Bojangles Coliseum in Charlotte. Almost 900 students "marched" and received their college degrees. More than 2,300 students were eligible to graduate this year.

During the morning festivities, Mr. Kevin Tobin, a 2022 graduate, addressed his peers by delivering this year's commencement address. Ms. Evelyn Hill, also a 2022 graduate, was the commencement speaker at the 2 p.m., ceremony. This is the fifth time Central Piedmont has had student keynote speakers at graduation. Evelyn and Kevin both graduated from Central Piedmont with an Associate in Applied Science degree in human services technology substance abuse.

Students matriculating from Central Piedmont with a curriculum degree, diploma, or certificate had the option of participating in either the morning or afternoon ceremony. This is the first year Central Piedmont combined its for-credit and non-credit programs into a single ceremony, giving graduates the choice to "walk" in the graduation ceremony that better fit their families' schedule.

In addition to hearing Evelyn's powerful message during the 2 p.m., ceremony, attendees also saw Dr. Deitemeyer, president of Central Piedmont, confer an Honorary Associate Degree in Arts to Mr. Wilton L. Parr, a long-time Central Piedmont student, volunteer, and donor.

Central Piedmont will offer two commencement ceremonies this year to honor its graduates. 2022 summer and fall semester graduates will participate in a special commencement service on December 13, 2022, at 10 a.m., at Bojangles Coliseum. The addition of a fall ceremony will allow the college's summer and fall graduates to be honored in the same timely way as its spring graduates.

View photos from the day's festivities in our online gallery.

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Posted in Alumni, Announcements, Foundation News, Students.

Second Cohort of STRIVE Scholars Graduates

Central Piedmont is excited to announce that its second cohort of STRIVE Scholars graduated yesterday during a special commencement ceremony on the college's Harris Campus.

The STRIVE (Strengthening Teachers. Reaching Individuals. Valuing Everyone.) Scholars program is a joint early childhood education initiative between the college, Mecklenburg County, The Foundation for the Carolinas, and the Charlotte Executive Leadership Council that seeks to address a local shortage in the public Pre-K teacher workforce. The program accomplishes this goal by removing the many financial and personal barriers students who are pursuing an associate degree in early childhood education may face by providing them with better access and the support services they need to succeed.

Founded in January 2020, the STRIVE Scholars Program has graduated 38 students to date. Twenty-five scholars graduated from the program during the May 10 ceremony, and more STRIVE scholarships are set to be awarded to eligible students in summer and fall 2022.

The program provides full tuition, fees, books, and materials funding to academically-qualified applicants preparing to become educators of young children in Mecklenburg County. In addition to receiving financial assistance, scholars also receive access to mental health supports, professional and personal development opportunities, and can apply for need-based support, including assistance with transportation and child care.

"The STRIVE Scholars program supports higher education access by removing barriers that may cause a student to lose focus and not be able to give 100 percent to their studies," said Toria Grant, STRIVE recruitment project manager and an early childhood education instructor at Central Piedmont. "This program helps us produce graduates who are prepared to serve the county's ever-growing pre-k population by providing Mecklenburg's youngsters with a high quality pre-K education that will better prepare them for their primary education and achieving academic success in the future."

Learn more about the program or attend a virtual STRIVE information session.

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Posted in Alumni, Announcements, Foundation News, Scholarships, Students.

Alumni Highlight - Joe Vagnone '87

For the last nine years, Joe Vagnone has been hosting "Local Biz Now," a radio program on WSIC 105.9FM dedicated to sharing a behind-the-scenes look at area businesses, with advice for new and seasoned entrepreneurs alike. His own experience spans a wide variety of industries, including multi-state restaurant concepts, multiple different franchises, publishing, and more. For 30-plus years, he has also worked as a business broker, helping others to buy and sell small businesses.

Joe Vagnone"I like to say, 'I have bought, sold, owned and operated more small businesses than anybody I have ever met,'" Vagnone says, with a smile. And it all began at Central Piedmont with an Associate in Applied Science degree in hotel and restaurant management in 1987.

It was a natural fit for him, he says, a first generation college student pursuing his goal to own a restaurant and be self-employed.

"The holistic approach to education and training within the hospitality industry at the time was one of the top in the country," says Vagnone, who received Central Piedmont's Hagemeyer Award in 2015--the prestigious honor is given to one outstanding alumnus or alumna annually. 

"This approach required me to understand accounting, legal, and personnel issues and prepared me for rapid growth, allowing me to rise above my contemporaries..." he says.

Outside of classes, he also gained valuable leadership experience at the college. That included stints as student body president and as an executive board member of the Hotel Restaurant Association Club, for which he traveled across the country promoting the college's hotel and restaurant management program (now known as "hospitality management") at industry expos.

After graduating, Vagnone opened his first sandwich shop with the help of connections and relationships he had made through the college.

For Central Piedmont students just starting out, he offers this advice: "To succeed, learning is not a singular or defined process. It is constantly learning something new and enjoying the process, while applying it in an intentional manner."

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Posted in Alumni, Community, Foundation News. Tagged as alumni spotlight, alumni success.

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