From Cells To Degrees: Northwestern University Marks Historic Graduation For Incarcerated Students

November 13, 2023

On November 15, Northwestern University's inaugural cohort of incarcerated students will proudly graduate after successfully completing their coursework while incarcerated, marking a significant milestone in their educational journey.

This graduation marks the first time incarcerated students in the United States will be conferred a bachelor’s degree from a top 10 university.

The Northwestern Prison Education Program (NPEP), an initiative by Northwestern University in collaboration with Oakton College and the Illinois Department of Corrections, is dedicated to delivering a high-quality liberal arts education to incarcerated students in Illinois.

Notably, NPEP stands out as the sole bachelor's degree-granting program for incarcerated students offered by a top 10 university in the United States. In January 2022, Northwestern welcomed its inaugural class of NPEP students, and the program currently boasts an enrollment of approximately 100 students across Stateville Correctional Center and Logan Correctional Center.

The upcoming graduation ceremony on Nov. 15 will feature a commencement address by the acclaimed author and journalist, Ta-Nehisi Coates.

"Northwestern is committed to the betterment of society through education, and NPEP provides an opportunity for incarcerated people to return to the community with a world-class liberal arts education," said Northwestern Provost Kathleen Hagerty. "With Ta-Nehisi Coates as their commencement speaker, our hard-working graduates will hear from a public intellectual and creative force who will inspire them to do great things with what they have learned. I can’t think of a more energizing voice at this pivotal moment in their lives."

Click Here For The Most Popular On Sunny Skyz