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1947-1949 Head of Charlotte College

In 1947, Cone succeeded Barnard as director of Charlotte Center and moved into the tiny office he had occupied—a room previously used for lost and found—containing a homemade desk and an ancient Royal typewriter. She had much to do, including recruiting skilled faculty, building connections in the community, and traveling to Raleigh to request funding for such needs as adding sophomore classes. Cone persistently pushed for things she thought the center needed, such as smaller classes, summer school, and increased pay for instructors. She even successfully advocated for a raise in her own salary, pointing out that she made less than a high school teacher who only taught one class at the center.

Cone described 1949 as “a year of crisis, a year of decision.” She—along with others who shared her battle—prevented the scheduled closing of the Charlotte branch in July of that year. Thankfully, because it was an odd-numbered year, the legislature was in session and administrative support shifted from the NC College Conference to the Charlotte City School Board. The board acknowledged the need for a permanent junior college and renamed the institution Charlotte College. On April 4, 1949, the NC General Assembly created the Charlotte Community College System for both Charlotte College and Carver College, providing both with some local funding.

 

Use the media player below, right, to hear Cone recall becoming director of the Charlotte Center.

Portrait of Bonnie Cone, circa 1950

Charlotte College Director Bonnie Cone, circa 1950.

Cone recalls becoming director during a speech, September 13, 1989.

1947-1949 Head of Charlotte College