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Former refugee wins CPCC Hagemeyer award

Alain Miatudila Sr., who came to the United States as a refugee 17 years ago, unable to speak English, has been named winner of this year’s Richard H. Hagemeyer Award from CPCC.

The award is given annually to a former CPCC student who has benefited from his experiences at the college and has gone on to a successful career in the community.

Miatudila, now a faculty member at UNC Charlotte and working toward his doctorate degree, will be honored by CPCC at the school’s spring commencement exercises May 16 at Bojangles Coliseum.

He came to the United States in 1996 from the Democratic Republic of Congo and said he wanted to study civil engineering. However, he had to settle for a full-time position as a cashier at a Handry Pantry. Miatudila said he realized a need to learn English, so he enrolled in English as a Second Language classes at CPCC.

He applied for CPCC’s civil engineering technology program in 1998 at age 28 and graduated with a degree in civil engineering technology three years later. Miatudila said he considers many of his CPCC instructors to be his mentors today.

He then transferred to UNCC and earned a bachelors degree in civil engineering technology, finishing in the top 10 percent of his class. Miatudila then worked in civil engineering positions with several companies in the Charlotte region over the next seven years, earning a masters degree from UNCC at the same time.

He now teaches in the Civil Engineering Technology and Construction Management program at UNCC and performs research on transportation engineering. He also is active with the American Society of Civil Engineers, the Institute of Transportation Engineers, the Congolese community of Charlotte, and his church.

“I find it a privilege to teach and mentor students,” Miatudila said. “There is no limit on the amount one can learn.

“When I look at the accomplishments I have achieved to date -- coming from a Third World country to having to learn English as a student -- I am proud of the hard work I put in.”

He said classes at CPCC “helped me become successful in my professional and personal life.”

The award is named for the man who served as CPCC president for 23 years, taking the college from a trade school to the largest community college in the state. Hagemeyer died last year.

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