Happy Anniversary Cleveland Community College!

Fifty years ago today, the Cleveland County Unit of Gaston College opened its doors at 118 North Morgan Street, Shelby.

Photo of window showing Cleveland County Unit of Gaston College.

Led by Dr. James Broughton Petty, the unit began offering classes in two rented buildings, with only a handful of full-time employees and less than 40 students. The College offered a few programs, including practical nursing.

Before long, the College had so many students, classes were being held in any empty space available, including churches. Within four years of opening, the College moved to its current location on South Post Road and continued to grow.

Although the campus looks much different today, the College is still helping students get off to a great start toward a bachelor’s degree, or learn a skill that’s needed by local employers.


The practical nursing program is still going strong. It was recognized earlier this year by the North Carolina Board of Nursing for six straight years of a 100 percent passing rate among students who took the North Carolina Licensure exam for practical nursing.

In addition, many new programs have been added over the years. This fall, CCC will begin enrolling students into the new Mission Critical Operations program. In 2013, the U.S. Department of Labor Employment Training Administration awarded over $23 million to CCC and a consortium of college and university partners for the development of the program. The grant was the largest ever awarded to a North Carolina community college. The program was developed in response to industry’s need for trained workers in mission critical operations – those jobs that keep a company running 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Today, staff and faculty celebrate CCC’s past, and the strong foundation that has been built. At the same time, we are looking forward to the next 50 years and beyond, excited to see what’s ahead for CCC and the students who build their futures here.

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CCC Celebrates Fiftieth Anniversary

On July 1, 2015, Cleveland Community College will celebrate fifty years of providing a variety of accessible learning opportunities to meet the educational and training needs of our community. With the official birthday less than a month away, we thought we’d share a few pieces of CCC trivia.

Did you know?

  1. Photo of window showing Cleveland County Unit of Gaston College.

    CCC began as the Cleveland County Unit of Gaston College. It was located in rented space on Morgan Street in Shelby.

    Cleveland Community College began as the Cleveland County Unit of Gaston College.

  2. When the doors opened, it was located in rented space at 118 North Morgan Street, Shelby.
  3. In the beginning, the Cleveland County Unit of Gaston College offered one course – Practical Nursing.
  4. More courses were added during the first year of operation, and more than 1,300 county residents took a course at the College during that year, according to the Shelby Daily Star.
  5. CCC once had a basketball team that played in a local recreational league.
  6. When the College moved to its current location in 1969, the property included barns, houses, tool sheds, storage building, dormitories, and other structures.
  7. In October 1967, the Cleveland County Unit of Gaston College gained independence and became Cleveland County Technical Institute.
  8. There was once an actual bridge on campus, and the saying “Crossing the Bridge” was used in reference to graduating.
  9. The College’s yearbook, titled The Bridge, was published from 1969 to 1991.
  10. On July 1, 1987 the College became Cleveland Community College.

While CCC was getting its start in Shelby, a world was still revolving around it. Here are a few facts from 1965:

  1. Cosmonaut Aleksei Leonov was the first person to walk in space. Three months later, Ed White was the first American to walk in space.
  2. Diet Pepsi was introduced.
  3. A gallon of gas was $0.31.
  4. Bread was $0.21.
  5. The average cost of a new car was $2,650.

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Reaching The End of The Road Less Traveled

Two roads diverged in a wood, and I,
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.

(from “The Road Not Taken” by Robert Frost)

To all our 2015 graduates:

Last night you, along with family and friends, celebrated your choice to take the road less traveled. It was not an easy journey. That road had obstacles that slowed you down, perhaps even stopped you completely for a time. But you kept moving forward, working steadily toward your goal, and now you can say, “I did it!” Enjoy this moment and be proud of your accomplishment. And tomorrow, set yourself a new goal, choose a new challenge, continue down that road less traveled and enjoy the journey!  Congratulations!

This image from last night pretty much sums up the evening.

Child holds up You Did It Mommy sign

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