Two-year colleges such as Capital Community College in downtown
Hartford give some of the state's poorest citizens a chance to
achieve the dream of going to college, Capital's new president
said at his inauguration Friday.
"We open the doors to those who have previously been shut
out, and we prepare them to learn, to think for themselves, to
continue their education, to obtain decent-paying, stimulating
jobs and to give back to their communities," Calvin E. Woodland
Before an audience that included state and local government officials
and representatives of colleges in the state, Woodland emphasized
that Capital's central role is to create opportunities for
low-income minority students and others whose access to higher
education has been limited.
"As the first in their families to attend college, in most
instances, our students come here with few road maps for the
academic life. They arrive with little training, few connections,
and no special privileges," he said.
He said Capital, located in the former G. Fox high-rise department
store building, enrolls one of the most diverse student bodies
in all of New England.
"Riding in our elevator,
you might hear conversations in Spanish, Vietnamese, Russian
or any one of dozens of other languages spoken here. And you
will see senior citizens, as well as traditional-aged college
students and every age in between, in our classrooms and hallways."
Woodland, 61, is the author of several publications on higher
education topics, including college access for minority students
and remedial and academic services.
The former vice president for student services at Bergen Community
College in Paramus, N.J., he succeeds Ira Rubenzahl, who left
Capital last year to take over as head of Springfield Technical
Community College in Springfield, Mass.
"It is a given," Woodland told guests in Capital's
historic Centinel Hill Hall auditorium, "that the next few
years will be the most challenging in this college's history.
The fate of our future students is a little less certain, as
declining budgets limit access to higher education to those with
the greatest need.
Reprinted with permission of the Hartford Courant.
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