Alex Tribo is 23, and, for a time, she believed she wouldn’t live past 20.

During that self-described “dark period,” she developed self-destructive tendencies that moved to drug abuse. She experienced homelessness, and as her life spiraled out of control, she gave up on college.

Now look at her: Thursday, she’ll graduate with an associate degree in science from Central Piedmont Community College and a 4.0 grade point average. Her commencement will feature speaker Jill Biden, the nation’s second lady, who teaches English at Northern Virginia Community College and has taught at community colleges for 30 years.

last modified May 12, 2015 01:57 PM

Central Piedmont Community College (CPCC) will launch a new associate degree program in engineering with the start of the fall 2015 semester in August. The CPCC Associate in Engineering (A.E.) program is a transfer program, designed for students who want to pursue a four-year bachelor’s degree in civil or mechanical engineering at one the UNC system universities.

“The Associate in Engineering program will enhance the Charlotte region’s workforce, while giving students who want to begin their studies close to home a lower-cost, high-quality option,” explained Chris Paynter, CPCC dean of STEM programs. “This new degree program was established under the Uniform Articulation Agreement between the University of North Carolina System and the North Carolina Community College System.”

A.E. degree program coursework will draw heavily from the natural sciences, engineering disciplines and advanced mathematics, including three calculus classes. Students will take 61 credit hours to complete the program.

“Workforce studies and employer surveys indicate the Charlotte region needs more bachelor-degree-level engineers,” Paynter said. “At the same time, we have tracked significant student demand for a 2+2 program in engineering. Once the A.E. degree program is established, we’ll look at adding a track for electrical engineering majors.”

For more information about CPCC’s new A.E. degree program, contact Dean Paynter at or 704.330.6531, or Dr. Terence Fagan, CPCC engineering science and Fab Ed Carolina chair, at or 704.330.6204.

Crystal Carson, Assistant to the White House Director of Communications

For students wondering if community college is the right decision, Crystal Carson says, “just do it.” And as a graduate of Central Piedmont Community College in Charlotte, North Carolina who now serves as the Assistant to the White House Director of Communications, Carson knows her fair share about community college.

She says that her time at Central Piedmont opened her mind to different opportunities and acted as a gateway to a variety of fields. She also notes that going to a community college didn’t put her at any disadvantage compared to anyone else at the White House.

“The support systems and the teachers, resources, all of the things that you can get at a community college are similar and if not better than any university that you could go to.”


The CPCC Christa A. Overcash Nursing Program will celebrate its 50th Anniversary on June 11, 2015. Come celebrate and share your membories and accomplishements. Feel free to bring nursing memorabelia for other alumni to view.

If you are a graduate of the program and you haven’t received a Save-the -Date card, please contact Mary Collin 704-330-6808.

The rain didn’t keep the alumni runners from stopping by the CPCC Alumni booth to reconnect. And a number of very excited  ”May 2015″ alumni came by to talk about their upcoming graduation. All spoke the same message, that their education at CPCC has meant a great deal to  them. All the warm words took the chill out of the air and made the race that much more memorable. Thank you to all who raced and helped raise scholarship money for the next generation of  alumni.

Central Piedmont Community College says Jill Biden, wife of Vice President Joe Biden, will speak at this year’s commencement.

She is a full-time professor of English at Northern Virginia Community College and has been an advocate for the critical role community colleges play in developing the nation’s work force.

“Biden will speak directly to our graduates’ hopes and aspirations and the challenges they have faced along the way,” says CPCC President Tony Zeiss. “She will know our students well because she has taught so many community college students in her career as an educator.”

The Charlotte school’s graduation ceremonies are scheduled for 4 p.m. May 14 at Bojangles’ Coliseum. CPCC anticipates as many as 1,800 students will graduate in May. Of those, about 800 will participate in the ceremony.

Zeiss and Biden both spoke at a conference in Switzerland last fall. At the time, they discussed the possibility of her being a commencement speaker at CPCC.

Biden has been an educator for more than three decades, and she has described community colleges as “one of America’s best-kept secrets.”

In 2012, she traveled across the country as part of the “Community College to Career” tour that focused on successful industry partnerships between community college and employers.

She hosted the first White House Summit on community colleges and frequently visits campuses and meets with students, teachers and industry representatives around the country.

Biden also works to bring attention to the sacrifices made by military families and to raise awareness around areas of particular importance to women, including breast cancer prevention.

Jennifer Thomas
Staff Writer-Charlotte Business Journal

 20th Anniversary CPCC Charlotte Skyline 5K this Saturday, April 25, at 8am

This race event promises fun for the entire family. In addition to the 5K race, there’s a 1-mile Fun Run and a Tot-Trot on the lawn. Also on the lawn are activities and food for all race participants and their supporters.


Click to register.


Special thanks to presenting sponsor, Northwestern Mutual.


The fourth annual Sweet Escapes fundraiser returns May 2.


In partnership with Central Piedmont Community College’s (CPCC’s) Baking & Pastry Arts Club, the night celebrates all things chocolate.


Guests can expect to indulge guilt free as all proceeds support Community Link’s efforts to help individuals and families obtain and sustain housing.


World Cup Chocolatier Chef Geoff Blount, who helped launch Sweet Escapes, is this event’s Willy Wonka—the mad chocolate scientist who last year created a 30 foot chocolate river for the event.


“Entering our fourth year, I believe we’ve created the premier community-wide event that celebrates chocolate,” says Blount. “People love chocolate . . . it smells great, tastes great, and makes people feel good.”

Hope you’ve marked your calendars for June 11, 2015. Do you have photos and memorabilia you’d like to display? It would be lovely to have some items for display to spark memories and stories.

Central Piedmont Community College is one of four Charlotte-area community colleges where students will design weather balloons and payloads financed by NASA.

Science, technology, engineering and math students and faculty from the schools each got grants of up to $10,906 from NASA. The grants will pay for equipment such as barometric pressure and temperature sensors, cameras, radio transmitters and small computers.

In addition to CPCC, Catawba Valley Community College in Hickory, Mitchell Community College in Statesville and Rowan-Cabarrus Community College in Salisbury and Concord got the grants.

Six-member student teams will design, test, launch and recover the balloons and their payloads. The balloons will soar 20 miles to the edge of space.

The teams will launch their balloons at 7:30 a.m. April 18 at the Iredell County Fair Grounds in Troutman.


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