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Bard College Clemente Course in Kingston Now Accepting Applications for Free Course in Humanities

Program at Kingston Library Offers Free College-Level Courses in Humanities for College Credit, as well as Books, Transportation, and Childcare, to Low-Income Adults

Darren O'Sullivan

KINGSTON, N.Y. – The Bard College Clemente Course in the Humanities in Kingston is now accepting applications for its 2014–2015 program at the Kingston Library. Now entering its fourth year, the program 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. 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.

Classes meet Tuesdays and Thursdays from 6 to 8 p.m., from October to June, at the Kingston Library. The deadline for applications is September 15th. If space is still available, we will consider applications until the end of September. These can also be e-mailed to Marina van Zuylen at vanzuyle@bard.eduApplicants 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. 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, or call 845 758-7453.

“Year after year, I continue to marvel at how the great books and works of art we teach in the Clemente Course have not only improved lives and opened doors, but created professional opportunities as well as lasting friendships,” says van Zuylen, director of the Clemente Course and professor of literature at Bard. “When our students apply for a job, they can talk about this unique experience. It is a life-changing experience for the students and professors alike.”

"“Don’t judge yourself by how much you know or how much you think you don’t know,” says Kingston resident Marge Knox, who graduated from the Kingston course in 2011. “The course is designed in a way that encourages you to learn and to open up. Don’t limit yourself; it’s an experience that you shouldn’t let go by.” 

The Bard College Clemente Course in the Humanities is based on the conviction that by studying the humanities, individuals who have been denied access to economic, cultural, and social opportunities develop the critical, reflective, and creative skills that empower them to work effectively toward improving their own lives and those of their families and communities. Begun as a pilot project on the Lower East Side of Manhattan, the Clemente Course is currently in its 19th year of operation. Overall, the program has enrolled more than 3,000 students, many of whom have earned college credit and transferred to four-year colleges and universities or plan to do so. 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 08-28-2014