Sphere College Project

A New World of Learning

Our History

Our History

Sphere College Project was founded by Richard Liston in Phoenixville, Pennsylvania in April of 2009 as an educational experiment in free education. In the beginning, a diverse group of twenty students ranging in age from 23 to 80 met for two different sections of ten students each for the course entitled “Self and Other”. This course was intended to form Phase I of the students’ studies, to help the students get to know themselves and others better, and to discover their talents, passions and vocations for enriching the human experience. Classes met in various locations, including the Colonial Theatre, Wolfgang Books, Steel City Coffeehouse, and St. Peter’s Episcopal Church. The classes sometimes used texts that had been collected in the dorms by Liston’s former students at Ursinus College, including the Epic of Gilgamesh, Genesis, the Bhagavad Gita, selections from the writings of Galileo, and The Merchant of Venice, to name just a few.

Sphere continued in the same manner for the next 5 years, seeking to become solidified. Some students remained throughout the entire period, and others came and went; some drove from remote locations. We briefly hired a teacher for the “Self and Other” course. During this early period of Sphere the future of the Project was uncertain, but the goal was too important to abandon. In 2012, a store called Local Sphere was opened on Main Street in Phoenixville, with retail space in front for local artisans, and classroom space for the Sphere College Project. A short time after opening Local Sphere, Richard was compelled to move to Asheville for personal reasons and operations in Phoenixville were put on hold.

We are excited that the time has arrived to reinvigorate Sphere by establishing the program in Asheville, NC. After establishing our program in Asheville, our plans are to begin reviving Sphere in Phoenixville in the fall of 2017.

If you would like to participate in establishing this new model of education that works for everyone, please contact us at info@spherecollege.org.