CEO Rohan Freeman Shares His Immigrant’s Success Story With Capital ESL Students

The question  in Professor Peggy Schuyler’s Advanced English as a Second Language (ESL) class on October 1 at Capital Community College was “Hartford: Window of Opportunities for Immigrants?”

Rohan Freeman answers questions from students in Professor Peggy Schuyler's Advanced ESL class October 1.

Rohan Freeman answers questions from students in Professor Peggy Schuyler’s Advanced ESL class October 1.

Helping to answer the  question in the affirmative was a guest speaker, Rohan A. Freeman, the Jamaican-born Founder and President  of Hartford-based Freeman Companies.

Freeman Companies is an urban-based site development, engineering and construction services firm that has rapidly expanded over the last five years.  In 2014  it relocated to John Street with offices in a historic firehouse near the South Green.

The company  is now working with Centerplan Development Company  and is responsible for site development, engineering and construction services for  the Downtown North (DoNO) project where the new baseball stadium adjacent to Capital’s campus is going up for the Hartford Yard Goats.

A land surveyor and engineer, Freeman finished high school in his native  Jamaica and moved to Hartford in the early 1980s. He enrolled at one of Capital’s founding institutions, Hartford State Technical College,  before transferring to the University of Connecticut.

From his high school days in Jamaica,  Freeman said he excelled at mathematics and knew he always wanted to be an engineer.  It took Freeman seven years from entering classes at Hartford State Tech to UCONN and earning a degree to become a professional engineer. Freeman’s story of getting to and completing college resonates  with most Capital students who are  balancing work with part-time study to pay tuition.  Seventy-six percent of CCC students attend part-time.

Freeman, an accomplished mountaineer,  shared his passion of climbing the world’s highest peaks with students in the Advanced ESL class. He is the first African-American to climb the Seven Summits.

It was after his climb of Mount Everest that Freeman launched his company in 1999 with a promise to clients to “elevate your expectations.” The enterprise began with Freeman as the sole employee and has  grown to 40 staff members.

Running and growing his business is “about integrity and performance at the end of the day,” according to Freeman.  Asked who he admired as a role model for his career success, Freeman  said that he was “self-motivated rather than looking to others” from his days of juggling work and entering classes at Hartford State Tech. “With hard work you can succeed in this country.”

In answering students’ questions, Freeman pointed out to the class of immigrant students that entrepreneurs who come from other countries account for a high and growing percentage of business start-ups. Immigrants, according to one report, accounted for 28 percent of all new businesses in the U.S. in 2011. Freeman put the percentage even higher today.

Advanced ESL Class at Capital with Rohan Freeman, President, Freeman Companies.

Advanced ESL Class at Capital with Rohan Freeman, President, Freeman Companies.

In addition to meeting the challenges of basing and keeping his business in Hartford, Freeman gives back to the community in many ways by serving on children’s charities including Hartford’s Camp Courant and the Boys and Girls Clubs of Hartford. In 2014 he established the University of Connecticut School of Engineering “Freeman Companies BRIDGE Endowed Engineering Scholarship” to support minority students with an interest in civil engineering who have overcome obstacles such as socioeconomic or educational disadvantage.

President Wilfredo Nieves also visited the class on October 1st and thanked Freeman for his motivational talk to the students in Professor Schuyler’s ESL class.


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Fall Events For Alumni & Friends: Bowling for Scholars October 3rd; Alumni Saturday October 17th

Bowling for Scholars October 3rd

Capital Community College’s (CCC) Alumni Association and the CCC Foundation are hosting two events in October for alumni and friends.bowling

On Saturday October 3rd the first Fall Semester Bowling for Scholars party will be held at Callahan’s Bowl-A-Rama in Newington from 6 to 9 p.m.  The outing features two games of bowling with shoes, buffet refreshments and beverages.  Alumni admission is $20 and regular admission is $30.

Callahan’s Bowl-A-Rama is located at 2143 Berlin Turnpike in Newington.

For reservations call the Advancement office 860-906-5102 or email To order reservations online got to

Alumni Saturday October 17th

On Saturday October 17th Alumni Saturday for the fall semester will be held at the 950 Main Street campus  from 10 a.m. to noon at the 950 Main Street campus.

The event is open to graduates and students who attended the city’s public community college formerly known as Greater Hartford Community College.  Alumni from Hartford State Technical College, an institution that was consolidated into Capital in 1990, are also welcome.

Alumni Saturday includes coffee and refreshments with information on campus events , activities and ways to become involved.  Information on new degree programs and course offerings  will be shared.  Tours of the downtown campus will be available.JoinAlumni2015flyer

A Membership (Online Application) in Capital’s Alumni Association is open to individuals who have graduated from Capital Community College (including Greater Hartford Community College and Hartford State Technical College) in a certificate or degree program or who have accumulated academic credits for transfer and professional development.

The mission of the Association, founded in 1988 and re-established in 2007, is to support and promote the college’s mission and goals and to plan activities supportive of students and alumni.

To RSVP and for more information contact the Office of Institutional Advancement: 860-906-5102 or by e-mail

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Excellence In Diversity Award Goes To Capital For A Third Year

For the third year, Capital Community College (CCC) has received the Higher Education Excellence in Diversity (HEED) Award from INSIGHT Into Diversity magazine, the oldest and largest diversity-focused publication in higher education. As a recipient of the annual HEED Award — a national honor recognizing U.S. colleges and universities that demonstrate an outstanding commitment to diversity and inclusion — Capital Community College will be featured, along with 91 other recipients, in the November 2015 issue of INSIGHT Into Diversity magazine.  Capital was one of only ten community colleges awarded, and the only college in Connecticut honored.

“Diversity is not just what we do, it’s who we are,” said Dr. Wilfredo Nieves, president of Capital Community College. “We truly embrace and celebrate the many communities that make up the college and that enrich the CCC experience.”

Capital is one of the most diverse colleges in Connecticut and New England, with mostly students of color, and a significant number of students who have immigrated from other countries. INSIGHT Into Diversity magazine selected Capital based on numerous best practices and leadership support.  President Nieves has consistently promoted diversity initiatives to meet the needs of the college community, and is a strong supporter of the Affirmative Action Office and the college’s Committee on Diversity and Inclusion.

CCC holds numerous events throughout the year, such as Caribbean Literature and Arts Festival, speakers on “body positivity,” understanding the impact of sexual violence, luncheon to honor veterans, forums on racism, and fostering understanding of people with disabilities, to name just a few. Class assignments and curriculum are linked to most events. The college recently created a new Center for Language and Culture which addresses the language needs of its diverse students.  Last spring, CCC was one of three institutions in the city the Christ Church Cathedral thanked and ceremoniously blessed, for its outstanding outreach and service to the community.

Regarding the HEED Award process, Lenore Pearlstein, publisher of INSIGHT Into Diversity magazine said “Our standards are high, and we look for institutions where diversity and inclusion are woven into the work being accomplished every day across a campus.”

For more information about the 2015 HEED Award, visit

by Jane Bronfman

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Capital CC On List Of Two-Year Institutions Where Grads Earn Higher Salaries

Homeroom, the official blog of the U.S. Department of Education, has cited Capital Community College as one of 45 institutions across the country where graduates can expect higher career earnings.

In a recent blog post  the Education Department based the list on median earnings of graduates 10 years after graduation from public and private schools. “This list includes only predominantly two-year-degree-granting public schools with higher median positive earnings 10 years after beginning at the school than the median earnings for all predominantly two-year-degree-granting schools, reported the Homeroom Blog. “Only the predominantly two-year-degree-granting public school with the highest median positive earnings in each state is shown in the list.”

Capital’s inclusion on a list of institutions where graduates can expect career-track employment and earnings supports earlier economic  analyses conducted by the CT community college system.

According to a 2008 study (“The Economic Impact of Capital Community College” by Henry M. Robison and Kjell A. Christophersen) economists that found associate degree graduates “see an increase in income of $487,700 over the course of a working lifetime compared to individuals with high school diplomas. “The same study found aggregate higher income for exiting students reaches an estimated $15 million more per year for each year they remain in the work force.

Related story in the September 14th Hartford Courant.

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Veterans’ Oasis, 21st Century Classroom, Welcome Center Mural Highlight Campus Improvements; Lunch Tour September 15th 12- 2 PM

Capital Community College’s campus, which opened 13 years ago this fall in a transformed G. Fox & Company Department Store, is introducing new resources and improvements for incoming students who began classes on August 31st.

Friends, neighbors and partners of the College are invited to a Lunch Tour on September 15th from noon to 2 pm. For more information  or to RSVP contact Amy Lemire, 860-906-5185,

President Wilfredo Nieves (3rd from right) with Photographer Jack O'Connell, students and alumni at unveiling of Welcome Center mural.

President Wilfredo Nieves (3rd from right) with Photographer Jack O’Connell, students and alumni at unveiling of Welcome Center mural.

During  the summer months  a new lounge area, enhanced lighting and large-screen message monitor were added to the Main Street Lobby.  All visitors and guests now check in at the lobby desk through an automated ID badge system.

The 2nd floor Welcome Center has been refurbished with contemporary student lounge furniture, information monitors and workstations. A 25′ by 5′ mural with the works of  Hartford Photographer Jack McConnell greets visitors with  a panoramic view of prominent downtown buildings and  locations as you enter the Welcome Center atrium.

A new Veterans Oasis center has been added to the fourth floor where the Academic Success Center is located as a resource to the more than 130 veterans who attend Capital.  The OASIS  — standing for Operation Support for Incoming Service members — stems from a 2008 initiative by the CT Department of Veterans Affairs to establish centers at colleges and universities for veterans. The new center replaces a veterans OASIS office located at the Student Center. Capital has been recognized as a “Military Friendly School” over the last two years.

A new lounge area at the Veterans Oasis Center on the 4th floor of the downtown campus.

A new lounge area at the Veterans Oasis Center on the 4th floor of the downtown campus.

The 6th floor, home to Computer Information Systems (CIS) labs and classes, now has a high-tech “21st Century Classroom” with 26 laptop computers and  content sharing capabilities.  The classroom is a decentralized and flexible space for classes that facilitates small and large group collaboration.  Faculty and staff involved in developing the smart classroom were Michael Bies, Carrie Benyei, Roger Ferraro, Kevin Lamkins and Stephanie Calhoun-Ward.

To round out campus improvement for the new academic year a student lounge and game room have been re-designed and newly furnished at the 7th floor Student Center.

Guiding campus-wide improvements over the last two years has been the Campus Improvement Committee composed of faculty, staff and students.  The College has used Transform 2020 initiative funds made available to the College for renovations and improvements.


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How To Become A Capital Student: Classes Begins August 31st

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Capital Grads Start Nursing Careers At Saint Francis Hospital

Fourteen members of Capital Community College’s (CCC) 2015 graduating class began their nursing careers this week at Saint Francis Hospital and Medical Center, Director of Nursing Cynthia Adams RN, MSN, EdD, announced.

Capital and five other Connecticut community colleges offer a 4-semester, 68-credit program awarding an Associate in Science Degree. Graduates take the National Council Licensing Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN) for licensure as Registered Nurses.

Saint Francis’ has long been part of Capital’s nursing partner network for clinical sites and career opportunities.

 “Congratulations to these strong and capable RNs. We are all so proud,” said Dr. Adams

Capital’s nursing program, the first and one of the largest RN degree-granting programs in the region, began in 20o4.  The program will mark the 40th anniversary of its first graduating class in 2016.

CCC 2015 Nursing graduates began their careers at Saint Francis Hospital and Medical Center the week of July 20th.

CCC 2015 Nursing graduates began their careers at Saint Francis Hospital and Medical Center the week of July 20th.



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