In the 30 years since it began, over 10,000 people on 5 continents have participated in the Clemente Course and both the program and its originator–Earl Shorris–have been awarded the National Humanities Medal.


Clemente is an award-winning program that provides a year-long college-level seminar in the humanities to highly-motivated low-income individuals committed to creating a better lives for themselves, their families, and their communities.  The Worcester Clemente Course is one of four set up in Massachusetts by Mass Humanities in partnership with local  institutions.


  • American History

  • Moral Philosophy

  • Literature

  • Art History

  • Writing and Critical Thinking


  • Free Tuition

  • A Stimulating Classroom Environment

  • Free Books

  • A Bus Pass

  • On-Site Child Care During Class Sessions



Our Students

Clemente students are highly-motivated individuals from low-income households whose educational ambitions have been blocked by financial or personal obstacles.

Clemente professors are faculty from local colleges who are enthusiastic about their subjects and expert at creating that same kind of enthusiasm in the members of their classes.

Our Professors

Barbara Beall-Fofana
Barbara Beall-FofanaArt History Professor
PhD from Brown University
Visiting Professor of Art History, Clark University
Ousmane Power-Greene
Ousmane Power-GreeneAmerican History Professor
PhD from University of Massachusetts-Amherst
Associate Professor of History, Clark University
Ruth Smith
Ruth SmithPhilosophy Professor
PhD from Boston University
Associate Professor of Humanities & Arts, Worcester Polytechnic Institute
Jim Cocola
Jim CocolaPoetry Professor
PhD from University of Virginia
Associate Professor of Humanities & Arts, Worcester Polytechnic Institute
Raphael Rogers
Raphael RogersCritical Thinking and Writing Professor
Ed.D. from University of Massachusetts at Amherst
Visiting Assistant Professor of Education, Clark University

Our Community

Clemente students, faculty members, supporters, and family members to come together to create a stimulating and supportive community.

Scenes from one of our community dinners.


It Changes the Lives of the Students

Asked what word best describes the Clemente Program, Jarelys Castillo (above) answered: “ESSENTIAL.”

After participating in the Clemente program, some students continue their educations at area colleges, apply for better jobs, or use their improved skills to take on new projects.

Students routinely report that classes have enabled them to develop:

  • Strengthened Reading, Writing, and Analytical Skills

  • A Deepened Respect for Alternative Points of View

  • A New Understanding of Their Own Lives

  • A Greater Sense of Self-Confidence

  • A Deepened Appreciation of the Value of Education for Themselves and Their Families

It Changes the Lives of Families

The level of a parent’s education is the single strongest predictor of the child’s success–even in adulthood.   And a longitudinal study revealed that three years after graduation 100% of Massachusetts Clemente graduates reported encouraging education among family members.

Vicki Mirales (shown on left with her daughters) reports:

Education plus more education equals success. If my daughter sees me doing homework, it’s going to motivate her to do homework. I get out of work at 12 o’clock at night, and when I get home I actually take my kids’ homework and I go through it. And in the morning if I have to go through it I will go through it, and I will sit down and take the time and show them because I want them to succeed.