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Interview with Bonnie E. Cone

Cone, Bonnie E. 03-07-1973
Sanford, Kenneth
Date of Interview: 
UNC Charlotte history; UNC Centers; junior colleges; community colleges; college funding
This recording is the second of four interviews between Kenneth Sanford, former Director of Public Information, and Bonnie E. Cone, founder and former Vice Chancellor for Student affairs and Community Relations at UNC Charlotte. These interviews took place in 1973, the year of Cone's official retirement from the university. The interviews focus on the history of Charlotte Center, Charlotte College, and UNC Charlotte. Cone also talks about her personal life. In this interview Cone describes the transition from Charlotte Center to Charlotte College in 1949 when legislation was passed to create the Charlotte Community College System in response to the closing of the post war UNC centers. Cone recalls the challenges of this period, including meagre funding, difficulties arising from oversight by an overburdened school board, her multiple responsibilities as director, and dwindling enrollments as veterans graduated from the system. Cone also reflects on the loyalty of many of the teachers and the success of students transferring to other colleges including UNC Chapel Hill, North Carolina State University, Davidson College, Duke University, Georgia Tech, and Clemson University. Despite a period of low enrollments, Cone describes the escalating need for further education in the vicinity, especially in the areas of education, business, industry, and graduate programs. Cone describes the courses offered at Charlotte College during the 1950's, including college track and public interest classes as well as courses in the short-lived technical institute which was headed up by John Nattress. During the interview Cone also discusses extra curricular activities at Charlotte College, the first "student center", school publications, student counseling, the first graduating class of 1950, and individual students. Cone stresses the significance of community support, such as that of the Altrusa Club. On a personal level Cone talks about the deaths of her father and mother and the impact this had on her.
1946-1960; Charlotte, NC
Interview Setting: 
Charlotte, NC
UNC Charlotte Memories
Interview Audio: