Capital Community College will recognize four graduates as 2020 Alumni Wall of Fame inductees at the October 23rd Changing Lives Gala, a virtual event that will showcase the College’s programs of study for health care heroes.
The 2020 inductees, who come from the fields of nursing, architecture, computer information systems and accounting include:
Sophia Gray (’01) MS
Sophia Gray, who graduated from Capital in 2001 with a degree in computer information technology, has shown support and a passion for Capital Community College that began during her undergraduate years and never left her.
“I came and I never regretted it,” said Sophia in a 2016 profile. “It was much more nurturing to me. I got a sense that the instructors really cared. As someone who has stayed involved with the college I see and hear year after year other students who have expressed the same sentiment,and that is, Capital is like a close-knit family Once you walk across the stage and leave that relationship does not necessarily end.”
Sophia’s commitments to her alma mater have been extensive and continuing. An emerita board member of the College’s Foundation,Board, she briefly filled in as its Chairperson until a replacement was voted in and currently serves on the scholarship committee. She was President of the Alumni Association as well as the Honor Society Phi Theta Kappa. Her organizing efforts among alumni led to a revival of the alumni association that was founded in 1988, the creation of the alumni’s logo, an alumni scholarship and hosting Alumni Saturdays at the downtown campus.
Sophia, a homeowner in Hartford’s Blue Hills neighborhood, is a single mom who raised a a son while juggling work, study and family as she advanced academically and professionally. From Capital, Sophia went on to Central CT State University earning her B.S. in Management Information Systems in 2004 and a Master of Science degree in Computer Information Technology specializing in networking and telecommunications technology in 2014.
Professionally, Sophia joined The Hartford Insurance Group in 2004 and is an Enrollment Specialist in Group Benefits. Always finding time to give back to her community she is currently the Chairperson of the Hartford Health Initiative, Inc., a non-profit organization whose mission is to improve health outcomes in the City of Hartford through community engagement and programming and of course staying connected to Capital Community College.
Daniel LaMontagne (’94) AIA
Daniel LaMontagne, growing up in a working-class household in his native Waterbury, told his Algebra teacher at John F. Kennedy High School that he wanted to be an architect. That early career interest would lead him to enroll in the architectural engineering technology program at Hartford State Technical College, earning a degree from Capital Community-Technical College, the name for Capital when Hartford State Tech merged with Greater Hartford Community College in the 1990s.
The education, project work and intense study received at Capital prepared Dan for late nights in the Architecture Studios at the University of Florida where he would earn a Bachelor of Design in Architecture and a Master of Architecture degree.
Dan returned to Connecticut and worked for several firms to start his career, including a seven-year stint at JCJ Architecture in Hartford. In 2014, Dan became the principal architect at AE Design Group (AEDG), assuming ownership of the firm led by Joseph S. Eddy, Dan’s professor and mentor at Capital who led the associate’s degree program until his retirement. Continuing the practice and legacy of Joe Eddy, Dan continues to seek Capital Community College graduates to employ and help with their growth as future architects. Currently, three AEDG employees along with Dan himself, are graduates of Capital Community College and Dan is a strong advocate for opening educational and professional doors for women and minorities in the architectural field.
AE Design Group’s clients include educational and health care institutions. One notable project completed by Dan in 2017 is the new Oncology Pavilion at St. Francis Hospital and Medical Center in Hartford
“Many people think about their dream job, but I am living it,” said Dan of his professional pursuits that started at Capital. “I didn’t think it would be this intense when I first ventured down this path, but the profession of architecture requires a variety of skills and knowledge to navigate and guide a project to completion.”
Jonathan Nyez (’06) MSN, RN
Jonathan Nyez, alumnus and nursing professor at Capital Community College, was raised and educated in Hartford and has stayed in the city to pursue his nursing career and guide others to pursue the caring profession of Registered Nurse.
“I have been connected to this city all my life. I first started working at Hartford Hospital in 1995 after a short stint in the Navy, and still continue to work there today on the STAR team. Having graduated from the University of Hartford with both a Bachelor’s and Master’s in Nursing Education, I have had the tremendous opportunity to now help countless others join the nursing profession.”
“I’m living proof that sometimes school superlatives come true. I graduated from Capital’s Nursing Program in 2006, and at the time was voted ‘Most likely to come back and be a teacher in the program’. And here I am years later, helping others to achieve that same dream of becoming a nurse. My only regret is not having been voted ‘Most Handsome.’ “
Not surprisingly Jonathan Nyez serves as a mentor for today’s nursing students, having been there in the classroom and at clinical sites not so long ago, and is representative of the dedicated faculty in the Capital Community College Nursing program.
John A. Perkins (’81) MS
John A. Perkins, an auditor in his native Barbados, arrived in Connecticut in 1977. Working at The Hartford Insurance Group he trained college graduate recruits who received promotions after their first year of employment. When he broached the subject of promotion with his own supervisors he was often told “you know what you are doing but you do not have that piece of paper.” Determined to get that “piece of paper” John enrolled at Greater Hartford Community College, now Capital Community College, in the fall of 1978 and graduated in the spring of 1981 as he worked full time and raised a family.
While at Capital, John was often chosen by the head of the Accounting Department, to mentor students who were struggling with their accounting class. Earning his associate’s degree, Perkins went on to Central CT State University for his B.S. in Accounting and Marketing and Bay Path University for a Master’s degree in Communication and Information Management.
His work career included seven years as a Senior Accountant with The Hartford Insurance Group, seventeen years as a Senior Financial Analyst at the Hartford Courant and nineteen years with Hartford Public Schools from where he retired in March 2020 as a Data Manager. Over the years, John has received many awards and accolades in recognition of his voluntary service to the community that now includes serving as Assistant Treasurer of the College’s nonprofit foundation.
One of John’s wishes is that all alumni share their experiences and knowledge gained at Capital so others can benefit from the programs and services offered by this great institution. He is of the premise and believes Capital Community College has been good to us so let us be good to Capital and the world we encounter.
Capital’s Alumni Wall of Fame, launched at the 2019 Changing Lives Gala, is located at the College’s 2nd Floor Welcome Center near the Main Street windows and the Walter J. Markiewicz Community Room. Inductees’ pictures and biographies are featured alongside a permanent Wall of Fame plaque recognizing an alumni class each year.