Charles McKenny (1860-1933) was the second principal of Central (1896-1900). Born in Dimondale, Michigan in 1860, he graduated with a bachelor’s degree from the Michigan Agricultural College in 1881 (now Michigan State University). Prior to Central, McKenny was a teacher at Charlotte (Michigan) schools, a principal at Vermontville (Michigan) schools, a professor of English at Olivet College, and principal of the normal department at Olivet College for the seven years immediately preceding his time in Mount Pleasant.
During his tenure at Central, enrollment continued to increase. The Central State Normal Athletic Association was formed and the first football game was played with Principal McKenny acting as assistant coach. McKenny left in 1900 to become head of the Milwaukee Normal (now University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee) and in 1912 he took the position of president of Michigan State Normal College, leading it to become the largest teacher training school in the world.