Clemente In the News

Sep 1, 2014
There is a recurring debate that has spilled onto the pages of mainstream media lately about the value of studying the humanities and whether the humanities are "in decline." The two issues are connected, as cultural critic Benjamin Winterhalter pointed out in a terrific essay in The Atlantic online earlier this summer.More ...
Mar 27, 2014
Jorge Rojas, Clemente Humanities instructor and lead advisor on the “We are One Inside Out” project, stood high above 1300 East on a lift cleaning an outside wall of East High School.  He was covered in wheat paste and working tirelessly hanging 100 black and white photos representing ethnic diversity at East High School and the “new face” of Salt Lake City.

National Endowment for the Humanities features
the Clemente Course

"The world improves when each one of us becomes better. The Odyssey Project achieves one of the kindest acts: it encourages us to look within ourselves, to seek a better world and the most important, it gives us hope to find it."

Luis Tafolla, 2013 Odyssey Project graduate, Chicago

A Bard College Clemente Course


The Clemente Course in the Humanities® is a unique educational institution founded in 1995 to teach the humanities at the college level to people living in economic distress.

The course works in conjunction with faculty from leading colleges and universities on five continents. Students learn through dialogue about moral philosophy, literature, history, art history, critical thinking, and writing.

More than ten thousand students worldwide have attended a Clemente course, and over fifty percent have successfully completed it.

The aim of the course is to bring the clarity and beauty of the humanities to people who have been deprived of these riches through economic, social, or political forces. While the course is not intended as preparation for college, many students have gone on to two- and four-year colleges.

There is no tuition; books are provided, and the college credits offered in most courses are readily transferable to other institutions.

In addition to free tuition and books, access to child care and transportation is provided without charge.

To learn about the origins of the Clemente Course, please read this article (PDF) from the September 1997 issue of Harper's Magazine and Riches for the Poor, both written by Clemente Course founder, Earl Shorris.

Student Voices from Mass Humanities

Brockton Clemente Course Opening with Ken Feinberg

Several times during this course I've heard discussions about the value of a humanities course as opposed to a more practical, pragmatic program. The problem with practical instruction is that the role of giver and receiver never changes. If you are teaching someone math, it is highly unlikely that you will learn something new about math from your student. In the humanities however, the role of giver and receiver is constantly shifting. Whoever is speaking at the time becomes the giver. This can be a very empowering and validating experience for people in low income situations like us. We are used to being seen as the receiver and are rarely valued for our life experience or our opinions. Being able to share something of ourselves and being validated for this can change our minds about who we are and this change will manifest throughout our lives.

2011 Halifax Humanities 101 Graduate, Halifax, NS, Canada
More Testimonials

Hear what our 2014 Graduates have to say! Click photos below.

Harlem Clemente Course Class of 2014

Harlem Clemente Course Class of 2014

Free Minds Class of 2014 and Faculty

Tania Rivera, Free Minds graduate and class speaker

Michael Thibodeaux, Free Minds graduate and class speaker

Free Minds Class of 2014

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