The Venture Course in the Humanities
As I sit at my desk working on a paper for my graduate Human Development class at Loyola University, I pause and "pinch" myself to reflect on how I got here. Venture. I'd always had the "idea" of going to college tucked into a corner of my mind and my heart, but I saw college as a thing that other people did. Why not me? No resources, no money, no encouragement, and no idea about how to “bridge the gap.” The Venture Course was that bridge. Venture gave me the confidence I needed. It said "yes" when everything and everyone else said "no.” It said "possible" when “impossible” tried to control my mind. The humanities opened up a new way of thinking about and relating to the world that finally made sense to me. It taught me new vocabulary and helped me know that I fit into this world just by being. Because of my experience in The Venture Course I will never again believe in "impossible."
-- Robin Smith, McNair Scholar, Westminster College graduate, 2013
Robin’s experience in the Venture Course has been shared by hundreds of others since Westminster College began this program in 2005. A free interdisciplinary humanities course for adults living on low incomes, Venture gives adults without access to higher education new ways to engage with their world. A partnership with the Utah Humanities Council, the Venture Course helps underserved students improve their lives and that of their families.
Applicants to the program must be at least 18 years old, have a low income, and the ability to read a newspaper in English. There are no tuition fees, and books, child care, and transportation are provided without cost. The course is modeled on the Clemente Course in the Humanities that began in New York City in 1995 and is now an international movement.
“Westminster’s support of Venture goes to the heart of what I believe that higher education is all about—helping individuals achieve their potential. And the first step is helping them realize that what seemed to be locked is only closed and can be opened by their own efforts.”
-- Mary Jane Chase, Professor of History