The Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion (EDI) Council at Central Piedmont brought civil rights icon and former Charlotte Mayor Harvey Gantt to Central Piedmont's Halton Theater stage on Oct. 14, to serve as a panelist during its EDI event titled, "A Story of Perseverance in Driving Change."
Mr. Gantt was joined on stage by moderator Dr. Charles Mitchell, equity and opportunity presidential fellow at Central Piedmont, as well as panelists Dr. Tracie Clark, vice president for strategy and organizational excellence, and Dr. Chris Cathcart, vice president for student affairs, at Central Piedmont.
During the event, Central Piedmont employees and students had the opportunity to hear the group discuss the power of collaboration and allyship in creating change and moving the EDI needle in a positive direction, and how Central Piedmont can continue pushing forward in supporting its students and the Charlotte community.
"Central Piedmont is a very special place. This institution - at its most critical level - allows folks from all circumstances in life to get on a ladder of mobility upward," explained Gantt. "I like the word 'transformation.' Central Piedmont makes a difference in the things that students can do. It puts individuals on a ladder, that can be built as high as they want it ... and that's why the college is a very important place. I've tried over the years to understand its value to the community and to be as supportive of it whenever I can."
Mr. Gantt was Charlotte's first African-American mayor and the first African-American student enrolled at Clemson University. His visit is one of the enrichment opportunities the college is using to help advance its EDI strategy, which college leadership has identified as mission-critical work. Over the past year, Central Piedmont has hosted a number of EDI related events for both its employees and students to attend. Examples include: inclusive leadership trainings, Black History Month events, inclusive teaching practice sessions, examining best EDI practices from other institutions, courageous conversations, and more.
Central Piedmont is offering such events to foster the growth of its employees and the institution as a whole. The goal is to deliver a superior collegiate experience for students that supports their success both personally and professionally, while embedding an enhanced EDI philosophy and awareness in the college's daily practices and processes.