Clemente Course at Trident Technical College Receives Service Learning Award

The Charleston Clemente Course Project at Trident Technical College was awarded a Service Learning Award by the South Carolina Commission on Higher Education on Thursday, March 6, 2008. The Clemente Courses are free college-level humanities courses that are offered to disadvantaged people in the Charleston area, in the hope that a study of classical literature, philosophy, art, history, and ethics can offer a way out of poverty through intellectual freedom. SC Humanities provided the original grant for this project in 2005 and continues with annual funding support through the We the People rubric of the National Endowment for the Humanities.

The Service Learning Awards presented by the South Carolina Commission on Higher Education honor programs that extend the reach of the university into the wider community. Criteria included community impact, number of students who participate, and integration into academics. Trident Technical College was selected for the Two-Year Colleges category; Clemson University and Newberry College won for Public Four-Year Colleges and Universities and Independent Colleges and Universities respectively.

The Charleston Clemente Courses Project has shown remarkable success over its three-year history, thanks in large part to the visionary leadership of Project Director Mary Ann Kohli, a professor of English at Trident Technical College. The retention rate is an impressive 73%, and many of the course graduates go on to continue their higher education or to start their own business ventures. The SC Commission on Higher Education cited the Clemente Courses for their “innovative approach to addressing homelessness and poverty through the empowering force of education.”

Dr. Randy Akers, Executive Director of SC Humanities said, “The Clemente Course has proven to be a successful humanities program, engaging people with the best of classical material and inspiring them to apply it to their present lives. SC Humanities has been happy to be involved with this program.”

More information about the Charleston Clemente Courses Project can be found on the Trident Technical College Web site at

SC Humanities is the state program of the National Endowment for the Humanities; inspiring, engaging, and enriching South Carolinians with programs on literature, history, culture, and heritage. For more information about the Grants Program, please contact T.J. Wallace at 803-771-2477.

Picture: Dr. Mary Ann Kohli receives Service Learning Award from Ms. Karen Horne, South Carolina Department of Education, and Dr. Layton McCurdy, Chairman of the South Carolina Commission on Higher Education