“You know, something like this comes across once in a lifetime.” -- Dr. Charles Chapman
On April 30, 1962, Cuyahoga Community College announced that it had hired a maverick from California to be the director of planning. Charles Chapman was a real life cowboy, having actually worked on a Montana ranch before earning his doctorate at the University of California at Berkeley.
Fortunately, Berkeley was one of the universities at the forefront of teaching community college management, and Chapman was able to immediately apply what he learned in their doctorate program to become president of a small junior college in Barstow, California.
Chapman believed in luck, and it seemed the harder he worked the luckier he became. His luck struck in 1962 when he received a call from Leland I. Medsker asking him to become the first president of Tri-C. Medsker was an academic and the author of The Junior College: Prospect and Progress, the seminal work on the junior college movement and its impact on the working and middle class. He shared Dr. Chapman’s vision for the junior college and believed that by assuming the Tri-C position, Chapman would be able to pursue a new vision of education and training that was impossible to achieve amidst the Barstow brush.
Dr. Chapman became president of Tri-C on July 1, 1962. By November of that year, Chapman submitted the Official Plan for the Cuyahoga Community College and declared the “bold decision” that the college would be operational and open for students in the fall of 1963 - less than one year away!