Category Archives: CPCC History

National Archives Month, Week 4 – Dr. Tony Zeiss

The last installment of our Archives Month celebration posts honors CPCC President, Dr. Paul Anthony Zeiss.


Twenty-four years ago, at a time when the College needed to focus on carving a new path, the CPCC Board of Trustees announced its decision for the new College president. Dr. Paul Anthony (Tony) Zeiss was the ideal candidate for many reasons; for starters, his dynamic educational background in radio/television, speech education, and community college administration enabled him to focus on the needs of students, staff, faculty and administration simultaneously. In addition, his background combined with his tenacity to “get down to business,” enabled Dr. Zeiss to transform CPCC into a model for community colleges that it is known for today.

Within his first six months, Dr. Zeiss worked with the college administration to implement a series of innovative changes such as the creation of a job placement facility and Academic Learning Facility for students, as well as enacting an affirmative action plan as a way to track job placement rates of minority students. When he first started in the fall of 1992, the College did not have any of these plans in place. What was in place, however, were plans for campus expansion – these plans would not come to fruition until Dr. Zeiss’s arrival. Over the past two decades under Dr. Zeiss’s leadership, Central Piedmont Community College has grown from one campus to six (serving over 70,000 students a year!) and has become recognized as a national leader in Workforce Development and innovative global initiatives.

In 2017, Central Piedmont Community College will welcome its new president, Dr. Kandi Deitemeyer. With her experience, knowledge, and skill-sets as President of College of the Albemarle, we very much look forward to the initiatives that she will put forth and the history she will make as our College’s fourth President. For more information on Dr. Zeiss, please visit the CPCC Homepage: as well as the CPCC Archives. Below are photos showcasing some of Dr. Zeiss’s achievements over the years, Thank you, Dr. Zeiss!


Dr. Zeiss speaking at the Ground Breaking Ceremony of the Southwest Campus in 1999. The Southwest Campus was renamed the Harper Campus in 2004.
Dr. Zeiss speaking at the Ground Breaking Ceremony of the Southwest Campus in 1999. The Southwest Campus was renamed the Harper Campus in 2004.


Dr. Zeiss during his presentation at the 2001 Fall Conference.
Dr. Zeiss during his presentation to faculty and staff at the 2001 Fall Conference.


From left to right are Dr. Zeiss,
From left to right are Dr. Zeiss, Robert L. Taylor, Bill Disher, and Richard Hagemeyer. This photo was taken during the Taylor Hall Dedication in early 1990s. Taylor Hall now known as the Worrell Building.


Dr. Tony Zeiss and his wife, Beth.
Dr. Tony Zeiss and his wife, Beth, at the Newcomen Society Annual Dinner in 2002.


Levine Technology Center Opening.
Levine Technology Center Opening Ceremony, 2007

National Archives Month, Week 3 – History of the Library

Did you know that when Central Piedmont Community College opened in July of 1963, the library was located in the basement of the Central High building? Although this building was used for storage by some departments of CPCC in its beginning years, the growing concern of where to house student resources (library materials in particular) was one of the main drivers of the 10-year master plan initiated by Dr. Hagemeyer and the Board of Trustees in 1964.


AR.0035, Student News Publications Collection: The Prospector – Vol. III, Number III, 1968

Construction of the library began in 1966 and was completed by J.N. Pease and Associates. By 1968, after great coordination efforts put forth by the library director, Miss Phoebe Oplinger, the Learning Resource Center had a new four-story building to call home in the center of campus. Here, students finally had a dedicated space where they could browse the card catalogs or the floors of stacks while searching for the perfect book. Students could even visit the School of Nursing which was located on the fourth floor (this was long before the English department moved in). One thing was for certain, from the very beginning the library was where students and staff alike went to gain knowledge; where their knowledge became power.


                      AR.0036, Photographs and Negatives Collection.

As the years have passed and technology has evolved, the Learning Resource Center has progressed as well. In the 1970s and 1980s, the use of the card catalog was still very important, but access to technologies such as audio and video players, and eventually computers, prompted the creation of media centers and computer labs.


                       AR.0036, Photographs and Negatives Collection.

By 1993, under the leadership of Dr. Zeiss, CPCC began its 10-year master plan which would grow CPCC from one campus into six campuses, as well as satellite campuses. To fulfill the ever-growing student population, the inclusion of library buildings was involved in every step of planning, so as to continuously provide students with the support and resources they need.

Today, all CPCC campus libraries provide resources to over 200,000* patrons each year; an astounding number compared to more than 30 years ago! As student needs continue to evolve in the coming years, the library and CPCC will continuously adapt to fulfill these ever-changing needs. For more information on services and assistance that any campus library can offer, please visit


*this information is taken from the annual gate count compiled by library staff each year.

National Archives Month, Week 2 – Founding of CPCC


This week’s post for Archives Month focuses on the founding of Central Piedmont Community College. Central Piedmont Community College was formed on July 1, 1963. It was created by the merger of two schools: Mecklenburg College and the Central Industrial Education Center.

Mecklenburg College, formerly known as Carver College, opened in 1949 to serve black veterans returning from World War II. The school was operated by the Charlotte City School Board before becoming part of the Charlotte Community College System in 1958. In 1961, Carver College was renamed Mecklenburg College and the campus was moved to new facilities off Beatties Ford Road.

The Central High Building housed what was known as Charlotte College and was founded in 1946. Central High was the home of Charlotte College until 1959 after the college had moved to its brand new campus off Highway 49, where it would its legacy as four-year institution. Today this institution is known as The University of North Carolina – Charlotte.

In place of Charlotte College, came the Central Industrial Education Center (CIEC), which was established in 1959. The school was part of the larger Industrial Education Center System which addressed the educational needs of adults in North Carolina. The schools provided technical and business training, pre-employment training, hobby and leisure classes, and opportunities to improved occupational skills.

On July 1, 1963 the North Carolina General Assembly passed the North Carolina Community College Act, which effectively created the school that would become known as CPCC. The predominately black Mecklenburg College would merge with the predominately white CIEC in order to create a single integrated institution; the first of its kind in Charlotte and possibly North Carolina. Because of this merger, CPCC was able to build on the faculties and curriculum already in place at each of the schools. For example, Mecklenburg College was recognized for its strong secretarial program and the CIEC had well-regarded automotive mechanics, construction trade, and practical nursing programs.

The administrators of this new school had to work fast to be ready for students in the fall of 1963. State and local officials met to appoint a board of trustees and created a budget for the school in September 1963. The group also chose the school’s first president by unanimous consent: Dr. Richard H. Hagemeyer, who had been serving as the assistant superintendent of the Charlotte-Mecklenburg School System and the director of the CIEC. The creation of the school happened so fast that it wasn’t even until November 18, 1963 that the school’s name was officially chosen! The name “Central Piedmont Community College” essentially served as a place-filler until a formal name could be agreed upon. Other candidates for names included Hornet’s Nest College and South Central College.

Over the last 53 years, Central Piedmont Community College has undoubtedly transformed into a leader in workforce development within and throughout the Charlotte region. From what started as a merger of two institutions, CPCC has developed into one of the largest community colleges in the Carolinas and serves over 70,000 people at its six full-service campuses across Mecklenburg County.

Three presidents have guided CPCC to become an innovative and comprehensive college that advances the life-long educational development of students; and soon, CPCC will welcome its fourth president. For more information on the founding of CPCC, please visit the CPCC Archives or check out the book CPCC: The First Thirty Years by Carol Timblin from your campus library.

National Archives Month – CPCC Athletics


To celebrate National Archives Month, the CPCC Archive will share a weekly post with our community throughout the month of October highlighting the many historic programs and people that have made CPCC what it is today. This week, CPCC Archivist, Erin Allsop, will share the history of CPCC’s athletic program.

The CPCC athletic program began as the result of efforts put forth by CPCC educators, Ross Surphlis (former director of Student Activities) and Jack Needy (physical education instructor) and many student supporters. The program started with a few on-campus club, with some eventually making their way to off-campus settings to accommodate the overwhelming popularity. CPCC had created teams for sports including football, basketball, baseball, softball, volleyball, cheerleading, judo, fencing, tennis, table-tennis, pool, and soccer. The history of some of the most popular programs are highlighted below.


Officially “kicking off” in 1970, the “CPCC Outlaws” played club teams from Duke, UNC-Chapel Hill, N.C. State, Eastern Carolina, Tennessee Military Academy, and Davidson College. The team largely consisted of veterans and local stars who played in high school. By 1972, the North Carolina Football Club Association was formed with CPCC playing within this association for three seasons. Throughout the 1970’s, participation in the football cub waned due to costs of equipment and field rental, but by 1983, there was a resurgence in the football club, flag football to be exact. Sadly, the flag football team only played for only a few seasons and was disbanded by the late 1980s.


The first CPCC team played in a city league in the winter of 1968 and competed against teams from area companies like Aetna Life, Humble Oil and Southern Bell. On February 4, 1969, the team played in its first inter-collegiate match, beating Rowan Tech 96-63. Buoyed by this success, tryouts for CPCC’s first varsity team were held in October 1969 and a school-wide contest was held to name the new team. The winner was the CPCC Tigers.

Over the next thirty years, both men’s and women’s basketball teams of the CPCC Tigers played in a number of intramural and varsity leagues. In February 1995, the CPCC Tigers were ranked fourth in the nation by the National Junior College Athletic Association and had won many awards and championships. The Tigers played their last game in the spring of 1997.


An informal baseball club was organized in 1979 with games being held between faculty members and students as a way to release stress during midterms and finals. By 1983, the baseball team had converted to the softball team and lasted until 1984-1985.


Being the second most popular athletic club on campus, the soccer club was founded in 1977 and lead by head coach, Miguel “Mike” Pimienta and assistant coach Tripp Lipinsky. By 1980, the CPCC “Golden Stars” gained a large following and included CPCC students from all over the world. The team was so popular that they even had their own cheerleading squad, The Golden Star Cheerleaders! The soccer club was a member of the Charlotte Amateur Soccer league and lasted for over two decades.


There were two cheerleading teams from the 1970s to the 1990s, the CPCC Tigers Cheerleaders and the Golden Star cheerleaders. The Tigers cheerleaders cheered on both of CPCC’s male and female basketball teams, while the Golden Star cheerleaders rooted for the Golden Star soccer team. The Golden Star cheerleaders disbanded along with the soccer club in the late 80s, while the Tigers Cheerleaders lasted until 1997 when the CPCC Tigers basketball team played their last game.

In 2016, there has been a resurgence of interest in intramural sports here on campus. For more information on how to participate, contact Justin Knoll (Coordinator of Recreation for Student Life) at We hope you have enjoyed learning about CPCC’s athletic history! For more information on the history of our athletic programs, please contact or visit Stay tuned for next week’s post in honor of National Archives Month!

CPCC Libraries Through the Years

2nd Floor Atrium in the 1970's Dedicated in the spring of 1970[i], the Hagemeyer Learning Resources Center was designed primarily as a $2 million, 106,000 sq. ft. library and audio-visual facility.[ii] An additional floor was added between the second and third floors within four years, by sliding in beams through the windows. [iii]
With bond money, the Library started massive renovations in Fall 1991. During that time, all areas of the library were moved, including the books, at least twice to accommodate construction and restructure the library. Media and periodicals settled on the fourth floor. [iv] For their efforts, the library staff received a 1994 Innovation of the Year award from the League of Innovation for moving “the library into the twenty-first century with no disruption of service to the students, faculty, or staff.”[v] During this time, all books were barcoded in anticipation of the introduction of the digital card catalog. During the Renovations of the 1990's

CAL Button

In 1992 the library’s digital catalog was introduced. The library sponsored a naming contest and Betty Kilday won with the name CAL, which stood for CPCC Automated Library. The catalog allowed all campuses to search the library’s holdings, not just those at Central where the card catalog resided. The new system required barcodes on student IDs to allow them to check out books.[vi] On July 29, 1993, the library hosted a party to empty the old card catalog.[vii]
Today, the library embraces the concept of the Learning Commons: a student-centered space which facilitates, supports, and inspires learning. This new space will enable the student to manage his or her learning by providing services and technology that will enhance the academic setting of CPCC.

[i] Timblin, Carol L. Central Piedmont Community College: The First Thirty Years. Charlotte:CPCC Foundation, Inc., 1995. pg. 84.

[ii] “Mixed Materials Make High Marks.” Form & Function 4 (1970): cover, 3-5. Available in CPCC Archives.

[iii] Timblin, pg. 84.

[iv] “CPCC Automated Library: Award Application for the John Cotton Dana Library Public Relations Awards.” 1993. Available in CPCC Archives.

[v] “1994 Innovation of the Year.” Innovator. Vol.22.1. League for Innovation, September.1994. Available in CPCC Archives.

[vi] “CPCC Automated Library: Award Application.”

[vii] CPCC Library, “Colossal CPCC Card Catalog Dumping Party.” 29 July1993. Available in CPCC Archives.