Centenarian Mathilde Freund: Fordham University’s Oldest Student Goes Back to Campus


Mathilde Freund turned 100 during the summer break but that did not stop her from waking up at 5:00 in the morning, having her fix of Colombian coffee, toast and news from BBC, getting a shower then taking the M11 bus to get to Fordham to attend her classes.

She commutes to the Lincoln Center daily to attend her classes at Fordham University. This lovely lady is part of the College After 60 program and is taking up a course called "Studies in Social Science on the Brink of Cultural Breakthroughs"

Ms. Freund said she's always been fond of literature, philosophy and psychology. Adding that she's still curious and would like to know what's going on.

In an interview with CBS earlier this month she also said, "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."

A lot of people are curious about what Ms. Freund's secret to longevity. When The Wall Street Journal asked her the question, she simply answered, ""But I do everything like everyone else. The only thing is, I'm not bitter. That would ruin my life."

This woman had a right to be bitter having lived through the Second World War. The family had to flee Austria to avoid the Nazis. They hid in the forests in France and she lost some family members, including her husband running away from the Holocaust.

Last summer Mathilde celebrated her 100th birthday and everyone in New York wished her well including President Obama.

A regular in the Grand Bazaar at the Upper West Side for the past 30 years, Ms. Freund is loved by her fellow vendors and customers alike. Not only is she pleasant and patient, she also enthrall shoppers with the 6 languages she's mastered.

Mathilde Freund is someone who doesn't want the unnecessary attention and just enjoys living an old woman's life. Tending to her business once a week from which most of the proceeds go to charity, goes to school and learn more about culture going to museums and the theaters in the city as well as dining with friends.

"Some people are 25, and they're not interested in anything they cannot understand. They're not interested in life, what's going on." The centenarian observed.

Her advice to younger people is to enjoy their lives, do good and think of others. At her age, she still thinks that life ""it's very precious, and it goes so fast. It's like a dream."

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