#discussCLT: Higher Education in Charlotte

WHEN: Wednesday, October 17 at 6:00 P.M. — 8:00 P.M.
WHERE: Catawba Brewing Co. 933 Louise Ave Ste. 105 (Look for parking on Otts Street.)     
COST: Free — RSVP below

ABOUT THE TOPIC: Approximately three dozen institutions of higher learning—from the state’s third-largest university to a renowned culinary school to the state’s biggest community college—educate students in the Charlotte region. But Charlotte generally isn’t thought of as a hub for higher education, especially compared to the powerhouse of the Triangle area. That shortcoming came into sharp focus this year, when Amazon passed over Charlotte—and shortlisted rival Raleigh—for the relocation of its East Coast headquarters in large part because the Queen City lacks a stronger higher ed infrastructure.

Charlotte also remains the largest American city without a four-year medical school. Is the city’s higher ed deficit holding the city back economically and culturally, and what are city leaders doing about it?


BRIAN JONES, Ph.D.  is the Dean of the College of Arts and Letters and the James B. Duke Distinguished Associate Professor of History at Johnson C. Smith University. Since April 2018, he has served also as Acting Dean of the College of Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics at JCSU.  He earned a Bachelor’s Degree (cum laude) in History from Appalachian State University, a Master of Arts in History from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro and a Ph.D. in History from Kansas State University.




JOAN F. LORDEN, Ph.D. joined the University of North Carolina at Charlotte as Provost and Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs in 2003.  She provides leadership for seven colleges, research institutes, and a University-wide graduate school.  She has overseen significant growth in enrollment, instructional programs at all levels, and funded research at UNC Charlotte, North Carolina’s urban research university of nearly 30,000 students and almost 1,200 full-time faculty. Before moving to Charlotte, Dr. Lorden served as Associate Provost for Research and Dean of the Graduate School at the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) where she was a Professor of Psychology and directed the university-wide graduate program in neuroscience. Lorden received a B.A. from the City College of New York and a Ph.D. in psychology from Yale University.



KEITH KELLY is VP of local and regional government for the Charlotte Chamber. Keith has 18 years of government affairs experience working 16 years for 2 Members of Congress in Charlotte and on Capitol Hill.  In his current role at the Chamber he spends most of his time lobbying the local government for pro-business policies.  He is currently a member of Leadership Charlotte Class 40 and received his bachelor’s degree from Duke University.


TONY ZEISS became the third president of Central Piedmont Community College (“CPCC”) in 1992. CPCC serves approximately 70,000 students per year and during his tenure, the college grew from one campus to six and was recognized as a national leader in Workforce Development. Dr. Zeiss is a published author and 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 is currently the executive director of the Museum of the Bible in Washington DC.




EMMA WAY is the senior editor of Charlotte magazine and a graduate of Washington College. Find her on twitter: @emmakway





ABOUT #discussCLT

At Charlotte magazine, we are committed to making this city better. Each year we feature a few Charlotteans who are doing just that in our December issue. We call them our Charlotteans of the Year. Throughout the year, we host a series of discussions on our city's defining issues with local leaders, thinkers, and YOU. We call it #discussCLT, an event series powered by OrthoCarolina. You can join the conversation by attending events, listening to the podcast, subscribing to the newsletter and reading articles.

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