After two years of virtual and hybrid instruction, online gatherings and numerous COVID-related obstacles, staff and students of the UW Odyssey Project were thrilled to gather in person for a celebration.
For the first time since 2019, students, staff, family members and friends gathered in the Great Hall at Memorial Union for the Odyssey Graduation Ceremony. Students hailed from as close as Madison and Chicago and as far away as Mexico and Guatemala. They spoke six languages and held dozens of professional roles, from cashier and construction worker to nursing assistant and youth organizer. But at the University of Wisconsin–Madison’s Odyssey Project, they came together as the Class of 2022.
Now finishing its 19th year, the award-winning Odyssey Project provides a free, two-semester humanities course to its 30 students each week, as well as dinner and child care when class is in session. In addition to earning 6 academic credits from UW–Madison, students gain the resiliency to face life’s obstacles. The course is one of Odyssey’s four core programs, each of which is designed to help break the cycle of generational poverty.
After opening remarks from UW–Madison Chancellor Rebecca Blank, who received the 2022 Friend of the UW Odyssey Project Award, and Odyssey Project Codirectors Emily Auerbach and Kevin Mullen, students shared pieces of their writing in a prerecorded video presentation. Their stories and words drew inspiration from the authors, philosophers and playwrights they’d studied over the course of the program. More information about the students — as well as additional samples of their work — can be found in the May 2022 edition of the Odyssey Oracle.
Below are a few highlights from the May 4, 2022, celebration. Photos were taken by Madison photographer Hedi Rudd, a 2012 graduate of the Odyssey Project. View more photos from the event on our website.
For more information on the Odyssey Project, see the program website or contact Codirector Emily Auerbach, firstname.lastname@example.org or 608-262-3733. To donate to the program or become a volunteer, visit the Support Odyssey webpage.