Charles Cann, Harper Alum, Writer, Producer, Director, and Editor
- May 12, 2017
While it was happenstance that brought Charles Cann to Harper College in 2001 - a detour on a leisurely drive while visiting Schaumburg from Ghana - the legacy he left behind was full of purpose, passion and the commitment to succeed.
During Cann's two years at Harper, he helped revive and became president of the Black Student Union; launched a multicultural festival with Dean Laura Labauve-Maher; wrote for the Harbinger student newspaper; served as student ambassador and was a member of the Excel Leadership Program.
Most notably, Cann launched a campus-wide drive in 2002 to provide costly school supplies to the children of Ghana.
With help from Harper's Library and the President's Office, Cann collected two 70-pound boxes of school supplies to take home with him on a visit to that country.
"Harper was my first taste of higher education in the United States, and attending really set the tone for me," says Cann. "At Harper, I had opportunity to do more than just sit in class; I lead student organizations. There are so many faculty, staff and administrators I am grateful for."
Cann continued his education as a scholarship recipient at Northwestern University, graduating with a bachelor's degree in communications in 2005. Four years later, he earned an MBA in Media Management from Metropolitan College of New York.
Today, Cann is a writer, producer and director with more than eight years of TV and film production experience. His specialty as a sound engineer has led to TV, commercial and film project work for ABC, Fox, NBC and VH1, interacting with well-known names like Maya Angelou and Bobbi Brown.
"I always wanted to be a journalist, and I'm finding that this is the best job for listening and finding opportunities to learn things," he says. "I remember Maya Angelou spent five minutes getting to know every single crew member on set before her interview. The Vice President of IBM, Nick Donofrio, once said, 'Wake up with an attitude to make a difference,' and I have never forgotten that, either."
Cann is the founder, creative director and chef of Tropical Ghana, an organization he founded in 2002 to offer assistance and encouragement to keep the country's young children in school. He's also the author and publisher of Tropical Ghana Delights, a cookbook featuring Ghana cuisine.
In his community, Cann volunteers as a speaker at New Heights Academy Charter School Career Day in Harlem and works on community gardens and paints schools for New York Cares.