Our HistorySchool Leadership
On September 28, 1970, 112 students and their teachers convened in a converted house situated on a former horse pasture at the intersection of Sardis and Rama roads. It was their first day of classes in the newly established Providence Day School.
This relatively small group began in a city that was about one-fourth the size it is now. The group’s ambitions at the time were also small: to establish another independent school option for families in southeast Charlotte who were seeking alternatives to busing. They were part of a trend emerging from court-mandated school desegregation which resulted in the formation of independent schools across the country, a phenomenon now known as “white flight.”
As the school added students, buildings, faculty, and new areas of study, its leaders positioned it to evolve with the world around it. Today, Providence Day counts 72 countries of origin among its student body, of which 29 percent are black, indigenous, or people of color, and the school has emerged as an educational leader in academic excellence. While embracing its mission of becoming a global school with a sense of social responsibility, the school recognizes it has more work to do on its journey.
Our Pledge For The Future
With the arrival of the school’s 50th anniversary, the school is renewing its pledge to its mission, and working with its vibrant community of students, faculty, staff, alumni, alumni parents, grandparents, and Golden Chargers to look ahead and work together toward a future of educating the leaders of tomorrow.
The Path to Success
September 28, 1970
One hundred and twelve students convened at the converted house on a former horse pasture at 5800 Sardis Road for their first day of school. This timeline traces some of the milestones in each decade since then, but it is not comprehensive. If you have suggestions for events and images to include here throughout the coming year, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
School officials broke ground for the construction of the expansion that would become Williams Building and Providence Hall.
Dr. William Townsend was hired to become the school’s first headmaster.
Gil Murdock joined the faculty as the first chair of the athletic department and team coach. The school established junior varsity and varsity boys’ basketball teams and junior varsity and varsity cheerleading squads.
Douglas Eveleth was hired as the school’s second headmaster.
Providence Day instituted the first Senior Projects during the final two weeks of the second semester. The school’s first senior class graduated with 25 members.
April 11, 1981
The school held its first “Super Saturday,” a celebratory annual event for all divisions.
The school purchased 14 acres behind the original tract, known as the Robert Pharr property. Construction began on additional parking and athletic fields.
The school launched its first Summer Programs, known as “Summer Etc."
September 13, 1985
The school’s new football field and track were dedicated and named after the Overcash family.
Rupal Naik earned the first Morehead Scholarship in the history of Providence Day.
Eugene Bratek was hired as the school’s third headmaster.
The school held its first TK Circus, a tradition that endures today.
The school established an Honor Code for the first time, which lives on today as the Charger Code.
January 14, 1990
Following the conclusion of the Soaring to the Future campaign, the school dedicated the McMahon Fine Arts Center.
Child magazine listed PD as one of the ten best after-school programs in the United States, following a 1992 recognition in Working Mother magazine.
The school established its first Sports Hall of Fame with two inductees: Reggie Clark ‘87 (football) and Norman Schellenger ‘79 (tennis).
Following the successful conclusion of the $4.2 million Silver Memories - Golden Dreams campaign, the school dedicated the Dickson-Hemby Technology Center.
Following the $15.5 million “Tomorrow Begins Today” campaign, the school opened the Mosack Athletic Center and Thompson-Jones Library.
Kelli Abigail Dyer Nunn, daughter of Kathie J. Dyer ‘77, became the school’s first legacy graduate.
The Global Studies Program was formally established with the hiring of Anna Wilbanks as its first director.
Dr. Jack Creeden becomes Head of School.
November 18, 2009
First Annual Turkey Trot, an annual all-school event honoring the late Gil Murdock (1942-2006), who retired in 2006 after 36 years of coaching at Providence Day.
Dr. Glyn Cowlishaw becomes Head of School.
Providence Day became the first independent school in the nation to host a Children’s Defense Fund Freedom School, a summer program to prevent summer learning loss among students from Rama Road Elementary.
The Upper School Musical “Little Shop of Horrors” received the school’s first Blumey nomination, a regional theatrical recognition from the Blumenthal Center for Performing Arts.
First crop planted in the Charger Gardens, which has become an all-school service project tied to the school’s curriculum.
PD celebrates the public launch of the Charging Forward Campaign with $15.1 million in commitments.
Community leaders cut the ribbon on the new Academic Center, DeMayo Gateway Center, and parking deck.
December 31, 2018
The $25.7 million Charging Forward Campaign reached its successful conclusion.
The school established its first endowed faculty chair: The Downing/Williams Endowed Chair of Teaching Excellence.