100-Year-Old Student Heads To Classes At Fordham University

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — It’s never too late to learn.

As CBS2’s Lou Young reported, a woman celebrated an unprecedented back-to-school milestone Thursday at the Manhattan campus of Fordham University.

On the first day of classes at Fordham on Thursday, Manhattanite Mathilde Freund began her fourth decade of study.

The college student turned 100 years old during the summer break.

“As long as you are able, you should go and learn and read books, because you never know enough, and it’s very, very stimulating and very interesting, and it keeps your mind young,” Freund said.

A rich and tragic life experience drives the centenarian student to ask and learn. She was born in Austria with memories of the war in Europe and the loss of her husband and brother to the Holocaust.

“My favorite course is always philosophy and psychology,” Freund said. “In the time of Hitler, it was different. All my friends became enemies.”

She said the developments of that time made her “very curious.”

She is taking a course called “Studies in Social Science on the Brink of Cultural Breakthroughs” – part of the university’s College after 60 program. But no student has proceeded as far past the age of 60 as Freund has.

“It certainly does speak to the enduring value of learning and the need to keep learning,” said Fordham University associate dean Cira Vernazza.

Before class, Freund told CBS2’s Young that too many young people she has meant simply are not curious enough.

“Some people are 25, and they’re not interested in anything they cannot understand,” she said. “They’re not interested in life, what’s going on.”

At the end of the interview, Freund offered a flash of a much younger woman.

“You are a very interesting man,” she told Young twice.

“Well, from a very interesting woman, I take that as a compliment. Thank you very much,” Young said.

“Nice warm hands too,” Freund also told Young.

Freud had one child – a daughter who passed away 10 years ago. She has two grandchildren and five great-grandchildren.

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