Bonnie Ethel Cone

Jun 22, 1907 - Mar 8, 2003

Bonnie Ethel Cone was an American educator best known as the founder of the University of North Carolina at Charlotte.
Cone was a teacher at Central High School in Charlotte when the University of North Carolina system opened an extension center in 1946. At the urging of principal Elmer Garinger, Cone became the center's first director. When the state began closing the extension centers in 1949, Cone was instrumental in convincing the state to keep the Charlotte Center open, clearing the way for the Charlotte City Schools to take it over and rename it Charlotte College, a two-year junior college with Cone as president. In 1957, she chose the school's current site in northeastern Mecklenburg County and helped draw up the original campus master plan. She believed that Charlotte College would grow into a university within 10 years, and believed the site was best suited to serve Charlotte and the surrounding area. Under her watch, Charlotte College became a state-supported community college in 1958, and a four-year college in 1963. In 1965, four years after Charlotte College moved to its current location, it was upgraded to university status as part of the UNC system.
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