Press Release

Free Humanities Course Program in Champaign Graduates 6th Class, Recruiting New Applicants

CHAMPAIGN, IL- April 19, 2012—This May, a unique program offering adults living on low-incomes free college-level liberal arts courses, complete with college credit, graduates its 6th class while opening applications for classes beginning next fall. 

The Odyssey Project, a program of the Illinois Humanities Council in partnership with the Clemente Course in the Humanities, will hold a graduation ceremony for students from its Champaign course on Sunday, May 6, at the Illinois Program for Research in the Humanities in Urbana, IL. James Anderson, acting dean of the College of Education at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, will be the keynote speaker. The graduation will also serve as the official start of recruiting for the 2012-2013 session of classes.

The Odyssey Project is a free college-level introduction to the humanities, founded on the conviction that engagement with the humanities can offer individuals a way out of poverty by fostering habits of sustained reflection, critical thinking, and skilled communication. Classes are offered in literature, philosophy, history, art history, and writing, taught by faculty members from top institutions including the University of Chicago, the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, DePaul University, and Lake Forest College. In partnership with the Bard College Clemente® Course in the Humanities, in Annandale, New York, students may receive up to six units of college credit.

Courses are taught at Douglass Branch Library in Champaign, along with three other courses in Chicago, one being a course in Spanish. Since its inception, more than 500 students have graduated from the program.  

Accepting Applications

The Odyssey Project will soon be accepting applications for its 2012-2013 school year. Applicants must be at least 18 years old and live in a household with income at or below 150 % of the Federal poverty level.  Classes are free of charge and tuition and books are provided, along with on-site childare and MTD fare.  Classes are held mid-August through May at all locations. The application deadline is August 1, 2012

The Odyssey Project graduation ceremony will take place at 1pm on Sunday, May 6, at the Illinois Program for Research in the Humanities (805 West Pennsylvania Ave.) in Urbana, Illinois.

For more information about the Odyssey Project graduation and to be notified when the application becomes available, please contact Amy Thomas Elder at 312.422.5580 or visit the Odyssey Project page at    

About the Illinois Humanities Council

The Illinois Humanities Council is an independent, nonprofit state affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities, dedicated to fostering a culture in which the humanities are a vital part of the lives of individuals and communities. 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.


Media Contact:
Carlos Velázquez
(312) 422-5580, x233 


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