Odyssey, in which the UW teaches free humanities classes to adult students who can’t afford college, launched in 2003, when cofounder Emily Auerbach ’76 offered a course to 30 students. The class includes works by authors such as Maya Angelou, Kate Chopin, Charles Dickens, Lorraine Hansberry x’52, Plato, and William Shakespeare — Auerbach is a literature professor (her specialty is Jane Austen). Today, the Odyssey Project comprises four components:
- Odyssey Course — the original program
- Onward Odyssey, which connects the course’s grads with further study
- Odyssey Junior, open to children and grandchildren (ages 2 to 18) of Odyssey participants
- Odyssey Beyond Bars, which offers classes to incarcerated Wisconsinites.
Since Odyssey began, Auerbach and her colleagues have taught more than 500 students, three-quarters of whom go on to enroll in further college-level study. Learn more about the Odyssey Project’s history, and meet some of its graduates.