Monday, June 22, 2009

Making the Just and Beautiful City

The University of Orange is a free people's university on the web and in Orange, NJ. The University opened in October 2008 and held its first graduation yesterday at the historic Orange Public Library. The graduating class is pictured here on the Main Street steps. It was a busy first year, with courses on AIDS, making a Christmas stocking, displacement, and urban design, among others. In addition to attending courses, students were required to vote (all elections count!), attend a city meeting, volunteer and recreate with neighbors. One student reported that being part of UofO had inspired her. "I've lived in Orange for 22 years, but I've never been as involved as I have been this year." In addition to conferring the degree of "Be Free" two inspiring people were awarded the Doctor of Freedom, the university's honorary degree. Margaret B. Thompson helped to start the fight for school desegregation in the 1950s. Benjamin Franklin Jones served as a councilman in Orange from 1963-1982. They were the oldest graduates of the day. A'Lelia Johnson, at 13, was the youngest.
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