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Bard College Clemente Course in Kingston Receives Grants from Ulster Savings Bank and First Niagara to Support Student Costs for 2013–2014 Program

Application Deadline for 2013–2014 Program Extended to September 24

Darren O'Sullivan

KINGSTON, N.Y. – The Bard College Clemente Course in the Humanities in Kingston, which offers a college-level introduction to the humanities—philosophy, literature, U.S. history, art history, and critical thinking and writing—to adults living on low incomes, has won grants from two local banks to support student expenses for the 2013–2014 program. The Ulster Savings Bank Charitable Foundation awarded a $2,475 grant and First Niagara Foundation awarded a $2,000 grant to support student expenses such as transportation, books, and childcare.

“Bard College gratefully acknowledges and thanks First Niagara and Ulster Savings Bank for their generosity and belief in the power of education to change lives,” said Marina van Zuylen, academic director of the Clemente Course and professor of French and comparative literature at Bard, stressing how vital support from business leaders and others in the community is to the success of the program.

“First Niagara is proud to support this critically important program that offers economically disadvantaged residents a unique opportunity to enrich their lives and improve their careers through free college-level courses,” said Cathie A. Schaffer, regional president for First Niagara’s Tri-State Region. “We applaud Bard College for this innovative program.”

“This is a great opportunity for area residents to gain critical thinking and verbal/writing skills, at no cost, from a leading educational institution like Bard College,” said MaryRose Warcholak, executive director of the Ulster Savings Charitable Foundation. “We’re pleased to know that our foundation funds will help to empower these students to seek out more education and/or better employment opportunities.”

Now entering its third year, the Bard Clemente Course in Kingston is accepting applications for its 2013–2014 program. Students attend at no cost. Tuition, books, childcare, and transportation (within the Kingston area) will be provided. Students who successfully complete the course earn 6 college credits from Bard College.

“The Clemente Course at Bard College was an incredible experience for me,” said New Paltz resident Leslie Bender, a class of 2013 graduate. “This experience has changed the way I think about myself, and the world. Reading, writing, and examining classical literature and philosophy with the tutelage of our knowledgeable professors changed my feelings during a crucial time. The Clemente Course provided a nutritious solution for healing and growth, and I recommend it most highly to all.”

Classes will meet Tuesdays and Thursdays from 6 to 8 p.m., from October to June, at the Kingston Library. The deadline for applications is September 24. Applications are available at Applicants must be: 16 years of age or older; living in a low-income household; able to read a newspaper in English; and highly motivated and committed. They must have the time and desire to attend classes regularly, complete assignments outside of class, and participate fully in the course for the entire nine-month term. Older adults are welcome. Applications are available at the Kingston Library, 55 Franklin Street, at the circulation desk during regular business hours. There is also a large six-panel display on view in the Kingston Library lobby that features information about the Clemente Course, including photos of previous classes and their commencements, testimonials from graduates, a list of donors, and a list of books that will be read in the upcoming course. For hours, please call 845-331-0507 or go to For more information about the Bard College Clemente Course in the Humanities in Kingston, please contact Marina van Zuylen at, contact Erin Cannan at 845-758-7453, or visit

The Bard College Clemente Course in the Humanities provides free college-level instruction, for college credit, to economically disadvantaged individuals. Begun as a pilot project on the Lower East Side of Manhattan, the Clemente Course is currently in its 18th year of operation. Overall, the program has enrolled over 5,000 students. More than 2,000 have completed the course and earned college credit; and more than 1,500 students have transferred to four-year colleges and universities or plan to do so. The program is based on the belief that by studying the humanities, participants acquire the cultural capital, conceptual skills, and appreciation for reasoned discourse necessary to improve their societal situation. Clemente students receive 110 hours of instruction in five humanistic disciplines and explore the great works of literature, art history, moral philosophy, and American history. Instruction in critical thinking and writing is also offered. Bard grants a certificate of achievement to any student completing the Clemente Course and 6 college credits to those completing it at a high level of academic performance. For more information, please visit

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This event was last updated on 09-10-2013