Press Release


Alderman Toni Preckwinkle will address English and Spanish-speaking graduates.

CHICAGO The Illinois Humanities Council (IHC) celebrates the 10th anniversary of The Odyssey Project  with a special joint graduation session for 2010 grads at the National Museum of Mexican Art (1852 W. 19th St, Chicago) at 2:00 p.m. The graduation will be a bilingual celebration of students from all three Chicago courses—north side, south side, and Spanish-speaking—featuring a keynote address from Toni Preckwinkle, former history teacher and current 4th Ward Alderman on Chicago’s City Council.

The Odyssey Project is a free 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. Since its inception, more than 500 students have graduated from the program. Classes are offered in literature, philosophy, history, art history, and writing from September through May at the University of Chicago Charter School (Donoghue Campus) on the south side, the Howard Area Community Center in Rogers Park on the north side, and Spanish-speaking students met at the Gads Hill Center in Pilsen. The Chicago courses are presented in partnership with the University of Chicago’s Civic Knowledge Project and the Bard College Clemente Course in the Humanities.


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 tenth year in Chicago (offering classes in English and Spanish) and its fourth year in Champaign. 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 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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