Ever the Best of Friends


As one of its founders and as its long-time Director, I have had the privilege of seeing the Dickens Project grow and thrive and establish itself as the premier center in the world for the study of Charles Dickens. I have also seen it develop into a remarkable community of readers and learners—people of different ages and backgrounds who share a love of Dickens and who come together once a year to explore and enjoy the wonderful richness of his novels.

Over the years I have shared many intimate moments with Dickens Universe participants and colleagues. Many have become my friends. We have danced and laughed and stood in line together, taken tea and been moved to tears, eaten cafeteria food and thrilled at Dickens’s extraordinary language and the brilliance of distinguished scholars.

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There are many stories in the Dickens Universe—couples who met here and went on to marry, high school students whose lives took a decisive turn as a result of their week in Santa Cruz, generations of graduate students who have entered the academy and then sent their own students to take part in the special learning community the Universe provides, retirees who have taken up Dickens as a serious hobby to pursue in later life. Enduring friendships have been formed.

The Dickens Universe benefits from the energy and goodwill of many volunteers, but it also depends on financial contributions from people who respond to the annual fundraising appeal put forward by the Friends of the Dickens Project. The day-to-day operations of the Project as well as its public programs, including its outreach to teachers and its support of scholarships for deserving high school and community college students, take money.

The Project receives no direct support from the University of California and only indirect support from the Santa Cruz campus. We depend on Universe registrations and private gifts for the bulk of our funding. The Friends of the Dickens Project are our chief source of private support.

As I begin to think of stepping down in the not-too-distant future from my position as Director, my ardent wish is to see the Dickens Project continue to offer the kinds of high-quality public humanities programming that we have produced over nearly forty years of operation. If you value the work that the Project, if you believe in the importance of lifelong, multi-generational education of the sort we offer, won’t you please join with me in responding generously to the Friends’ annual solicitation? Click here to make an online donation

Faithfully yours,

John O. Jordan, Director