Press Release


Graduation address by Ana Maria Soto of Columbia College Latino Cultural Affairs

CHICAGO On Sunday June 18 at 3:00 p.m. at The Mexican Fine Arts Center Museum (1852 West 19th Street) the Illinois Humanities Council (IHC) will celebrate the graduation of the Spanish Language Odyssey Project’s class of 2006. Fundamentos de EducaciĆ³n en Humanidades is part of the Illinois Humanities Council’s Odyssey Projectandoffered in partnership with the University of Chicago and the Bard College Clemente Course. Taught in partnership with the Bard College Clemente Course and the University of Chicago, this course serves native Spanish speakers and is offered at Gads Hill Center in Chicago’s Pilsen neighborhood. Students take classes in literature, philosophy, Mexican history, and writing. All reading assignments are in Spanish, as is class discussion. Classes meet twice a week from November to March. Tuition is free and all books are provided free of charge. Bard College grants a certificate of achievement to any student who completes the course.

Ana Maria Soto, the graduation speaker, is the Director of Latino Cultural Affairs at Columbia College Chicago, an institution specializing in arts and media, where she is charged with developing a Latino cultural agenda for the college and mentoring over 1,000 Latino students. She received her Masters from Universidad Complutense de Madrid and her undergraduate at the University of the South in Sewanee, TN. Soto has been Regional Census Director for the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund (MALDEF) and currently serves on boards of Latino Council on the Media, Chicago Latina Leadership Council of the Chicago Foundation for Women, and Erie Family Health Centers.

In addition to Soto, The Odyssey Project graduates will select a student speaker to address the graduation audience.

Fundamentos de EducaciĆ³n en Humanidades is part of the Illinois Humanities Council’s The Odyssey Project. Founded on the premise that engagement with the humanities can offer a way out of poverty, The Odyssey Project offers instruction to course participants in humanistic disciplines. The Odyssey Project is in its sixth year here in Chicago. 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 more than 20 sites operating in the United States. 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. The Spanish Language Odyssey Project began in Chicago in 2003, and Bard College hopes to replicate the course in other locations.

For more information about The Odyssey Project, or to request an application, please call 312.422.5580, email, or visit www.prairie.organd click on “The Odyssey Project” under “Educational Programs and Grants.”

Click here for remarks given by the speakers. For more information, please contact Dimitra Tasiouras at 312.422.5580.

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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