Dr. Tony Zeiss, president of Central Piedmont Community College (CPCC) for 23 years, announced his plans to retire at the end of July 2016.
“After more than two decades as president of Central Piedmont Community College, I have chosen to retire at the end of July 2016. Beth and I have been extraordinarily blessed by this wonderful community and the dedicated boards, faculty, staff, students and donors of CPCC,” Zeiss said. “We will continue to live in Charlotte and support many of its fine organizations, including the college.”
In December 1992, Zeiss became the third president of CPCC, one of the largest community colleges in the Carolinas, serving approximately 70,000 individuals per year. During his historic tenure, the college has grown from one campus to six and is highly regarded as a national leader in workforce development. Under Zeiss’ leadership, the college’s annual operating budget has grown from $46.7 million to $202.4 million.
During Zeiss’ presidency, Mecklenburg County voters approved multiple bond referendums to build new facilities at the college and expand its footprint across the county. The most recent referendum, approved in 2013 by more than 72 percent of the voters, brought $210 million to the college. The college’s facilities space has grown from 1.4 million square feet in 1993 to 3.36 million square feet today.
Since Zeiss came to the college in 1992, the CPCC Foundation has raised $122.1 million. The foundation completed its most recent campaign in 2013, which raised $63.8 million, perhaps a U.S. community college fundraising campaign record. The college celebrated its 50th anniversary in 2013.
“Tony’s contributions to Central Piedmont Community College and Charlotte are immeasurable,” said Edwin A. Dalrymple, chair of the CPCC Board of Trustees. “In the 23 years since Tony became the President, CPCC has been transformed into a world class educational institution with a global reach. Tony’s leadership, his enthusiasm and drive will be greatly missed, but his retirement is well-deserved.”
Ralph A. Pitts, who joined the CPCC Board of Trustees in 1998 and served as chairman from 2004 to 2014, will lead the search committee tasked with finding a successor to Zeiss, Dalrymple added.
Zeiss holds a doctorate in community college administration from Nova University, a master’s degree in speech (radio and television), and a bachelor’s degree in speech education from Indiana State University. He has authored or co-authored numerous books on economic development, adult literacy, national workforce development and the U.S Civil War. His most recent publications include four books on creating high performance employees, a book on community college leadership, a tribute to John Montgomery Belk, and a novel on the American Revolutionary War.
Zeiss is a professional speaker and a frequent keynoter for companies and colleges on recruiting, developing and retaining peak performers at the workplace, and on fundraising. He regularly consults on workforce development and resource development.
"Tony Zeiss led CPCC to national prominence as a leader in workforce development. He has consistently demonstrated wisdom and integrity, and his vision and energy, both for the college and for our community, have left an indelible mark,” Pitts said.
Zeiss is past chair of the Board of the American Association of Community Colleges, past board chair for the League for Innovation, and was the Association of Community College Trustees’ National CEO of the year for 2004-2005. He serves on several local, regional and national boards, including Leadership NC, the Institute for Emerging Issues, and the Fund for the Improvement of Postsecondary Education (FIPSE). He is the chair of the Trail of History, the Little Sugar Creek Greenway Action Committee, and leads the Charlotte Region Global Initiative. He frequently serves as a workgroup member for the U.S. Department of Education and the U.S. Department of Labor.
Zeiss is the recipient of the 2012 Whitney M. Young Humanitarian Award presented by the Urban League in March 2012; the 2012 Jack Callaghan Cornerstone Award presented by Goodwill Industries of the Southern Piedmont; the 2012 UNC Charlotte Distinguished Service Award; and the 2012 National Leadership Award from the National Council for Continuing Education and Training (NCCET).
Zeiss and his wife, Beth, have two sons, a daughter-in-law, and two grandchildren.