Western Piedmont Community College was chartered by the North Carolina State Board of Education on April 2, 1964, as a member of the North Carolina Community College System. The Board of Trustees comprised of prominent citizens from Burke, McDowell, and Caldwell counties, assumed responsibility for the College and elected Dr. E. W. Phifer, Jr. as its first chair. From the very beginning, the citizens of Burke County demonstrated interest and strong support of their College by approving a state-required bond issue with an unprecedented margin of seventeen to one.
The College sits on approximately 300 acres of campus with rolling hills, lush foliage, a pond, and tennis court. It is home to the Senator Sam J. Ervin library. Students have a wide variety of associate degree programs to choose from including three transfer associate degrees in Science, Arts and Fine Arts. There are over 36 associate in applied science degrees in healthcare, industry, business, and education.
With annual enrollments exceeding 13,000 students, Western Piedmont Community College continues to provide quality, higher education and meets the dynamic needs of its community. The Continuing Education division situated behind the main campus offers general education and adult high school diploma programs, as well as English as a Second language, crafts, computer technology and woodworking.
In 2008, Western Piedmont Community College was one of only seven North Carolina community colleges to be designated an “Exceptional” college. The designation was announced as part of the performance measures required by the North Carolina General Assembly.