VIDEO: Fordham's Most Senior Student

96-year-old Student Shares Life Lessons

Ask Mathilde Freund her age and she offers a demure response, "It should be a secret!” The 96-year-old Freund has reason to be proud of her age, but modesty forbids. She has met some of life's toughest challenges and has witnessed history's darkest moments. She is a holocaust survivor who arrived in New York with mother, daughter, and a wedding ring hidden in the hem of her skirt. Her newlywed husband died at Buchenwald. Her brother was shot on orders from Klaus Barbie.

Freund's wedding ring.
Photo by Tom Stoelker
Freund takes a highly philosophical perspective of these events, much of it culled through literature read as a student in Fordham’s School for Professional and Continuing Studies’ College at 60 program. The program turns 40 this year and Freund has been taking class there for 35 years.

Founded in 1841, Fordham is the Jesuit University of New York, offering exceptional education distinguished by the Jesuit tradition to more than 15,100 students in its four undergraduate colleges and its six graduate and professional schools. It has residential campuses in the Bronx and Manhattan, a campus in West Harrison, N.Y., the Louis Calder Center Biological Field Station in Armonk, N.Y., and the London Centre at Heythrop College, University of London, in the United Kingdom.
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