Press Release


Students from Springfield will Graduate

From Year-Long College-Level Course in the Classics

SPRINGFIELD – On Saturday, May 7at 2:00 p.m. at the Old State Capitol, Downtown Mall, The Illinois Humanities Council (IHC) will celebrate the graduation of the class of 2005 of The Odyssey Project. Created and administered by the IHC, 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 Springfield Urban League Head Start Center, 1108 East Cook. Terry Logsdon, Assistant Professor of Philosophy

Lincoln Land Community College, will deliver a commencement address at the ceremony.

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 eighth year, with 26 sites operating in the United States, Canada, and Mexico.

Classes meet two evenings a week at a host site 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 2005 at sites in Springfield and Chicago.

  • Curriculum
There are five discrete sections: Philosophy, U.S. History, Literature, Art History, and Writing and Critical Thinking. In addition, the course offers tutoring, especially with writing.

  • Students
Students must be 17 years of age or older. Race and gender are considered irrelevant. The only entrance requirement is the ability to read an English-language newspaper and live below 150 % of the poverty level. The course generally enrolls 25-30 students at each site.

  • Faculty
Teachers for the Springfield Odyssey Project are professors and curators from the University of Illinois-Springfield, Southern Illinois University, MacMurray College, Richland Community College, and Springfield College in Illinois, and the Illinois State Museum.

For more information about the Odyssey Project, or to request an application for next year, please call (217) 820-6150.

The Illinois Humanities Council is an educational organization dedicated to fostering a culture in which the humanities are a vital part of the lives of individuals and communities. Through its programs and grants, the IHC promotes greater understanding of, appreciation for, and involvement in the humanities by all Illinoisans, regardless of their economic resources, cultural background, or geographic location. Organized as a state affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities in 1973, the IHC is now a private nonprofit (501 [c] 3) organization that is funded by contributions from individuals, corporations, and foundations; by the Illinois General Assembly; and by the NEH.


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