Press Release


Graduation address by James D. Anderson, Gutsgell Professor of Education

CHICAGO The Illinois Humanities Council (IHC) will celebrate the graduation of The Odyssey Project’s class of 2009 on Saturday, May 9 at 1:00 p.m. at the Douglass Library (504 E. Grove St., Champaign).

The Odyssey Project is presented by the Illinois Humanities Council and offered in partnership in Champaign with the Illinois Program for Research in the Humanities at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign. It is a college-level introduction to the humanities meant to help adults with low incomes more actively shape their own lives and the lives of their families and communities. Students take classes in literature, philosophy, history, art history, and writing at the Douglass Library in Champaign.

James D. Anderson Ph.D, Gutsgell Professor of Education and head of the Department of Educational Policy Studies at the University of Illinois, will deliver the address. Dr. Anderson’s research is focused on African American history and public education, both secondary and higher.  In addition to the guest speaker, graduates will select a student speaker to address the graduation audience.


The Odyssey Project, a program of the Illinois Humanities Council, is founded on the premise that engagement with the humanities can offer a way out of poverty and offers instruction to course participants in humanistic disciplines. The Odyssey Project is in its third year in Champaign and its ninth year 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 is a part) is in its 12th year nationwide, with more than a dozen 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.

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 and six transferable credit hours to those who complete it at a high level.

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

The Illinois Humanities Council (IHC) 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 (NEH), the IHC creates programs and funds organizations that promote greater understanding of, appreciation for, and involvement in the humanities by all Illinoisans, regardless of their economic resources, cultural background, or geographic location. The IHC is supported by state, federal, and private funds.

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