Press Release


Low-income adults will hear graduation address by

Classics scholar and translator Stanley F. Lombardo

CHICAGO – On Friday, May 20at 6:30 p.m. at the Alliance Francaise (54 West Chicago Avenue) The Illinois Humanities Council (IHC) will celebrate the graduation of the Odyssey Project’s class of 2005. The Odyssey Project is a free, eight-month program of college-level humanities courses for people living in poverty. Students in the class of 2005 took courses from September through May at the Ariel School on the South Side and at the Howard Area Community Center in Rogers Park on the North Side.

Stanley F. Lombardo, award-winning author, translator, and Professor of Classics at the University of Kansas will speak at this year’s graduation . Lombardo’s publications include Homer’s Illiad ( recipient of the 1997 Byron Caldwell Book Award ); Homer’s Odyssey ( 2000 New York Times Book of the Year ); and translations of Plato, Hesiod, Callimachus, Aratus, and Horace. He has given dramatic readings of his translations at the Smithsonian Institution, the Chicago Poetry Center and on C-SPAN and National Public Radio. In addition to Lombardo, Odyssey Project graduates will select a student speaker from each location to address the graduation audience.

Founded on the theory that engagement with the humanities can offer a way out of poverty, the Odyssey Project, in partnership with the Bard College Clemente Course in the Humanities, offers course participants 110 hours of instruction in four humanistic disciplines. Students explore masterpieces in literature, art history, moral philosophy, and United States history. Writing instruction is also integral to the coursework. The Bard Clemente Course in the Humanities (of which the Odyssey Project is a part) is in its ninth year, with 26 sites operating in the United States, Canada, and Mexico.

Classes meet two evenings a week at host sites located in the community. Syllabi and reading lists at all sites are roughly equivalent to those a student might encounter in a first-year humanities survey course at a first-rate university. Tuition is free; books, childcare, and transportation vouchers are provided. Bard College in New York grants a certificate of achievement to any student who completes the course and six college credits to those completing it at a high level of performance. Next year’s courses will begin in September 2006 at sites on the South Side, the North Side, and in Springfield, Illinois.

For more information about the Odyssey Project, or to request an application, please call 312.422.5580 or email

The Illinois Humanities Council is a nonprofit educational organization [501 (c) 3] dedicated to fostering a culture in which the humanities are a vital part of the lives of individuals and communities. Organized in 1973 as the state affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities, the IHC creates programs and funds organizations that promote greater understanding of, appreciation for, and involvement in the humanities. The IHC is supported by state, federal, and private funds.


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