Posted February 11, 2019

Pan-African Studies Community Education Program turns 40

Temple’s low-cost, non-credit continuing and basic adult education program is celebrating four decades of community service.

Ulicia Lawrence-Oladeinde
Photography By: 
Matthew Altea
Ulicia Lawrence-Oladeinde, director of Temple’s community education program, addresses the crowd during an end of the semester celebration.

On a blustery December Sunday, Thomas Bell sat next to his wife, Cynthia, in the Berean Presbyterian Church community room. They could have very well spent their day running errands in preparation for the upcoming holiday, but instead they attended a closing ceremony to celebrate the end of another successful semester of Temple’s Pan-African Studies Community Education Program (PASCEP).

The room was filled with current students, instructors and past participants who shared their testimonies on how PASCEP classes helped them build a range of skills.

“It’s about community and making connections, but it’s also about making changes in your life,” said Thomas, who once took a PASCEP course on financial literacy.

This year PASCEP will celebrate its 40-year connection to the community with activities, workshops and a special celebration scheduled for late fall.

Founded in 1975 by the late Annie D. Hyman, a Temple University graduate and North Philadelphia community activist, the program takes part of its name from the Pan-Africanism movement of the 60s which sought to unite people of African descent around the globe.

By engaging Temple staff and students as volunteers, Hyman created a two-way learning experience that helped North Philadelphia residents gain access to Temple’s greatest resource: education.

Prior to coming to Temple in 1979, the Community Education Program was held in neighborhood schools, churches and centers. Through the support of Odiyo Ayaga, former chair of the then Pan-African Studies Department, Temple agreed to sponsor PASCEP.

Since its inception, PASCEP has offered more than 524 courses, 375 lectures and 88 workshops taught by volunteer professionals, whose purpose is to offer culturally relevant courses to students from across the Philadelphia region.

“I am humbled that the elders and ancestors of this program have entrusted me with this “Diamond” of Temple University,” said Ulica Lawrence-Oladeinde, PASCEP’s current director. “My vision for the future of PASCEP is to embrace the past to shape the future.”

Learn more about PASCEP programming online, or call 215-204-1993.

—Jazmyn Burton