Mildred English oral history interview, 2012 September 17
In this interview, Mildred English, Monroe native and long-time employee of Charlotte College and the University of North Carolina at Charlotte, tells of her personal history and shares her first-hand knowledge of Bonnie Cone. She begins by speaking of her parents’ occupations and her early education during the Great Depression. She recalls her first post-college job working at the American Association of Junior Colleges in Washington, D.C., and describes life in the city in the late 1940s and early 1950s. She explains her decision to go to graduate school and work with students and how she came to work as Business Manager at Charlotte College with Bonnie Cone. She describes the college’s campus at Central High School, the circumstances surrounding its move to the new campus off Highway 49, and its induction into the UNC System. She discusses the politics of this inclusion, of Bonnie Cone’s being passed over for the chancellorship, and of the UNC System in general. She recalls opposition to Charlotte College’s growth and to Bonnie Cone’s vision for the school and describes Miss Cone’s management style, personality, work ethic, and passion for students and their success. Other topics include Ms. English’s duties at Charlotte College, the contrast between faculty at Charlotte College and UNC Charlotte, Bonnie’s Boys, the Charlotte College bell and barn, and festivities surrounding the new campus. Ms. English also relates the story of two female students, Martha Price and Rose Erwin, who completed their bachelor’s and master’s degrees solely through evening and summer classes at Charlotte College and UNC Charlotte.
Mildred English was an 87-year-old woman at the time of interview, which took place in Special Collections at J. Murrey Atkins Library at UNC Charlotte. She was born in Monroe, North Carolina, in 1925 and was educated at Richmond Professional Institute of the College of William and Mary (now Virginia Commonwealth University) and Syracuse University. She was employed as secretary at American Association of Junior Colleges in Washington, D.C., as bursar at Averett College in Danville, Virginia, and in several positions at Charlotte College and the University of North Carolina at Charlotte including Director of Student Personnel, Placement Officer, Foreign Student Advisor, Bookstore Manager, Business Manager, Assistant Director of Career Planning and Placement, and Director of Placement.