The Bonnie E. Cone University Center celebrates 50 years of campus life this November with a week long celebration of its historical significance and contemporary relevance to the University community with commemorative remarks, student performances, personal stories, educational exhibits, music, dance and other festivities.
The origins of Cone Center intertwine with the life and accomplishments of University founder Bonnie E. Cone. In 1946, life-long educator Bonnie Cone, known as “Miss Bonnie,” became the first director of Charlotte Center, a night school program at Central High serving World War II veterans. Through the efforts of Miss Bonnie and community leaders, Charlotte Center expanded in 1949 to become Charlotte College, a two-year, city-funded educational institution.
Under Miss Bonnie’s leadership, Charlotte College continued to thrive. Her determination manifested in land acquisition and relocation to a dedicated northeast campus. Meanwhile, she appointed prestigious faculty and cultivated community and legislative support for an eventual transition to a four-year, state-supported institution.
Miss Bonnie was instrumental in the construction of the new northeast campus, including a "College Center.” The building was originally dedicated in a ceremony with Atkins Library on Nov. 3, 1963. At that time, Macy and Kennedy were the only other buildings.
Miss Bonnie’s dedication did not end when the General Assembly signed the bill establishing UNC Charlotte as the fourth branch to be admitted to the University of North Carolina education system. Afterwards she assumed the post of Vice Chancellor of Student Affairs and Community Development, a staunch student advocate and educator, until her retirement in 1973.
At Miss Bonnie’s retirement, the College Center was renamed the Bonne E. Cone University Center in her honor. Since that time, the building has expanded to meet the needs of the growing University population. Yet it remains true to its mission and Miss Bonnie’s legacy, always serving as a student-focused building with programs and offices that provide opportunities for both structured and informal student interaction and learning.
The Cone University Center 50th Anniversary Celebration runs Nov. 4 through Nov. 9 with a calendar of events as varied as the building’s history.