Fidel Dennis' journey is one of perseverance and grit. He first learned about Central Piedmont from a family member who attended the college after moving to the area from another state. In an effort to improve his grades, he too, started his collegiate education at Central Piedmont. However, that was his sole goal with his eyes set on attending a four-year institution as soon as possible.
he met a lot of people and being in college was an exciting time, after one year he transferred to another institution to pursue civil engineering. Quickly he found the experience to be different, mainly due to no longer being able to receive in-state tuition. Finances were becoming a great strain. This experience led him back to Central Piedmont, but with a renewed sense of dedication and focus.
Upon his return to Central Piedmont, Fidel utilized the available resources, made deeper connections, and even met his now wife. In 2017 he received an Associate of Applied Science degree in architectural technology with honors and a job offer in hand.
As a young adult and Liberian immigrant, he is thankful for the growth that his educational journey and transition to the United States yielded. Many of the lessons he has gained and his ability to embrace change is detailed in the book "Alien Adulthood."
Today, he works with Bluescope as an engineering detailer, ensuring prefab steel structures are designed in accordance with regulations. Every day he is inspired by the people who have helped him along the way -- family, teachers, professors. He strives to continually gain knowledge that he can in turn share with others.
He encourages current and future students alike to "see the opportunities that are within sight -- the meaningful experiences, knowledge, and skills for your future goals -- and go for it!"
Share your own Central Piedmont journey and successes to be considered for a future spotlight.Read more
The Central Piedmont Annual Report is ready to view online at cpccfoundation.org/annualreport.
Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic during 2020-2021, the college continued to serve as the community's college, providing the support services, courses, and career training its students needed to stay on track, within an environment that fostered a culture of care.
We are grateful for the continued support of our donors, industry partners, and friends who believe in our vision of providing learning experiences that transform lives and strengthen the local community.
Please enjoy this interactive reading experience, while learning more about our 2020-2021 accomplishments and celebrating our many successes with us through videos, photos, and more.Read more
Mark de Gruchy enjoyed the freedom that Central Piedmont gave him to not only find himself, but to also build the foundation of his personal beliefs and approach to business.
Education was Mark's way out of working retail after being launched into the workforce from challenging high school experiences that relegated him to roles that lacked promotional opportunities. Earning his associate degree in 2015 gave him the confidence he could do anything. The ability to "complete" something sparked a never-ending thirst for knowledge. Since receiving his Associate in Arts, he has completed his bachelor's and master's degrees, with the ultimate goal of pursuing a doctorate, to conduct research that continues to cultivate his interests.
He is beyond thankful for the numerous teachers who helped him along the way. While their names escape him, their faces he will never forget. They include: the biology instructor who took the time to help him figure out how to make the material "click," the teacher in the math emporium who became an ongoing point of contact to address concerns, or the public speaking teacher who encouraged him to be himself and speak his voice. These seemingly miniscule acts impacted his life greatly and helped facilitate his goals. Central Piedmont showed him that while "life might throw roadblocks in your way, you are unique and there is a place in the world for your passions; it is only a matter of shining them up so they can sparkle like the beautiful diamonds we all are."
Today, Mark blends his interest in sociology, economics, social justice, art, and business as a marketing manager for a local Charlotte chain and owner of a freelance design business. His graphic design skills have landed him deals and featured designs with Hot Topic, Cartoon Network, All Elite Wrestling, World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE), and TNT. He has also authored and published his own book.
Mark would like to remind current and future students that "if you're unsure of the path you're taking, it is that feeling of uncertainty that leads to growth. You've already made the first step by having an interest in your education. The rest of it will figure itself out."
Share your own Central Piedmont journey and successes to be considered for a future spotlight.
A donor who wishes to remain anonymous has made a $10-million gift commitment to Central Piedmont Community College. The gift is the single-largest individual donation in Central Piedmont's 58-year history and among the largest gifts ever made to a community college nationwide.
Central Piedmont will use the gift to transform its role as a community resource for arts and humanities programming and learning. Plans for the gift include:
- establishing an endowment that provides resources to attract and retain outstanding arts and humanities faculty members;
- creating a scholarship endowment to provide Opportunity Scholarships for students who are pursuing degrees in arts and humanities;
- creating and launching an arts and humanities series which will bring renowned authors, artists, and performers to Central Piedmont for the benefit of students, faculty, staff and the greater Charlotte-Mecklenburg community;
- establishing a public art fund, which will provide resources to commission public art for the enhancement of outdoor spaces at the college, enriching the lives of students, faculty, staff and visitors on a daily basis;
- enhancing instruction in the visual arts; and
- creating an endowment to support and expand instruction and learning in the arts and humanities at the college.
"This magnanimous gift will strengthen Central Piedmont's capacity to educate, train, and empower well-rounded individuals who will understand, appreciate, and participate in the rich and diverse cultural traditions that strengthen the Charlotte-Mecklenburg community," said Dr. Kandi Deitemeyer, Central Piedmont president. "The generous donor believes regardless of students' academic background and desired education and career pathway, their perspectives should include experiences in the arts and humanities to achieve a better comprehension of the past, a better analysis of the present, and a better view of the future. Through our conversations, it's clear the donor believes Central Piedmont is a critical community resource for Mecklenburg County residents beginning their higher education journey, seeking skills to build a family-sustaining career, or needing additional credentials for career growth.
"A gift of this magnitude will be transformative for the college and the community. As a result of this gift, Central Piedmont students will gain a greatly enhanced appreciation of the arts and humanities, aiding them as they build productive lives of meaning and service. At the same time, Central Piedmont will be able to establish itself as a national leader in arts and humanities education among community colleges," Deitemeyer added.
The $10-million gift commitment comes to the college as part of its ongoing "Powering a Stronger Future campaign." Powering a Stronger Future is an ambitious, five-year, comprehensive, fundraising effort focused on providing students with greater access to outstanding educational and career-preparation opportunities, addressing the workforce needs of business and industry in Charlotte and Mecklenburg County. The campaign will conclude on June 30, 2022.
For the third-consecutive year, Central Piedmont Community College was selected to participate in the Metallica Scholars Initiative and receive $25,000 in funding to support its career and technical education programs.
Funded by Metallica's All Within My Hands (AWMH) and led by the American Association of Community Colleges (AACC), the Metallica Scholars Initiative was created in 2018 to fundamentally improve the earning potential for students who become Metallica Scholars.
Central Piedmont will continue to use the grant funds to provide direct support for students enrolled in its healthcare career programs but who need financial assistance to complete their studies and become licensed healthcare professionals. These programs include: nursing, physical therapy assistant, and occupational therapy assistant. The goal of the initiative is to ensure students receive relevant jobs skills that will make them competitive in the healthcare field.
"We are proud to work with Metallica to advance the career and technical education provided by the nation's community colleges," said Walter G. Bumphus, AACC's president and CEO. "Colleges across the country provide pathways to well-paying jobs through programs, services, and training that lead to in-demand skills, certificates and degrees for students. These programs are responsive to the needs of local businesses and provide a pipeline of qualified workers to local industry. It's a win-win for our students and the local economy. For Metallica to continue to invest in these students and communities is a testament to the power of the workforce education community colleges provide and we are proud to do this work with them."Read more
Central Piedmont alumnus Zach Lokken '21 will represent Team USA in the Tokyo Olympics, July 23 August 8. The Associate in Arts graduate will compete in the MC-1 Canoe Slalom event during his first Olympics appearance.
Born in Durango, Colo., Zach has won several awards in the sport of American Canoe, including third place in C1 and C2 during the 2015 U.S. National Team Trials.
When he's not hitting the rapids, he enjoys skiing and longboarding.Read more
Janet LaBar, president and CEO of the Charlotte Regional Business Alliance, has been appointed to the Central Piedmont Community College Board of Trustees by N.C. Governor Roy Cooper. LaBar's four-year term begins July 1.
Charlotte attorney Michael Hawley has been reappointed to the Central Piedmont board by Gov. Cooper for another four-year term. Hawley has been a college trustee since 2017.
Caldwell Rose, president of NAI Southern Real Estate in Charlotte, has been appointed to the Central Piedmont board by the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Board of Education to a four-year term beginning July 1. This is a continuation of Rose's service as a trustee. He has been a board member since 2015, when he was appointed first by Gov. Pat McCroy.
"The college is excited to welcome Janet LaBar to the Board of Trustees. Janet's background and experience in workforce development and economic development makes her a great addition to the board," said Dr. Kandi Deitemeyer, Central Piedmont president. "At the same time, we are grateful Mike Hawley and Caldwell Rose will continue as trustees. They have been highly engaged and have provided insightful counsel and leadership. We will rely on our 2021-22 board members heavily as the college welcomes more students back to campus and helps Mecklenburg residents find a post-pandemic path to career growth and greater economic mobility."
LaBar has led the Charlotte Regional Business Alliance since 2019. Prior to coming to Charlotte, she served as president and CEO of Greater Portland Inc., a regional economic development organization. Her other career positions include chief performance officer of the Greater Phoenix Economic Council, and research and communications manager for the Center for Workforce Development, a part of the Maricopa County Community Colleges District in the Phoenix metropolitan area.
Hawley has practiced tax and business law in Charlotte since 1983, with the global firm K&L Gates and its predecessor Kennedy Covington Lobell & Hickman. He also worked as a visiting professor of law for the University of Florida College of Law, and as a vice president with First National Bank of Tampa.
Rose is a native of Charlotte, and joined NAI Southern Real Estate in 1988. He has served in a leadership role on the Central Piedmont Board of Trustees, chairing the Finance, Facilities and Audit committee since 2018. He holds real estate brokerage licenses in North and South Carolina.
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.
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.
Watch the videos below of Lynne's acceptance speech for the Richard H. Hagemeyer Educational Advancement Award and Dan's acceptance speech for the Young Alumni Award of Excellence.
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 cpccfoundation.org/awards.
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."Read more
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