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Friday night's inaugural session at NFU (photo by Leonard Andrenacci)

New North Fork ‘University’ Debuts with ‘Meeting of the Minds’

NORTH FORK – North Fork University’s inaugural program — “Meeting of the Minds” — drew about 40 curious “students” to the STUDIO Friday night.

The “class” featured a lively discussion from a round table of historical figures including Winston Churchill, Hawaiian Queen Lili’uokalani (local actress Cassandra Hepburn), Chinese philosopher Dr. Sun Yet-sun, painter Pablo Picasso and President Abraham Lincoln.

The free form discussion was hosted by TV talk show host Steve Allen and also was highlighted by a musical performance from George Harrison of the Beatles (local musician and music teacher John Kilburn)  — with other local area residents enthusiastically playing the various roles.

“Tuition” was $5 for the general public or a 1/2 NF Share (local currency). The event was free for public school students. Attendance resulted in attendees gaining one “credit” at the new North Fork University — or NFU.

NFU organizer Josh Freeman says he founded the alternative learning center because he wants to bring “interesting and diverse classes to our mountain communities.”

“Other small towns have similar tongue-in-cheek ‘universities,'” Freeman says. “Although playful, North Fork University aims to hold some fascinating events.”

Freeman says future evening programs at NFU will be dedicated to “the food, history, music and art of different countries. Nigeria will be the first class as it is the seventh largest country in the world by population, though not well known.”

According to Freeman, participants who enroll in NFU will be given the opportunity to design their own degree and create their own title once they have accumulated enough credit units for a “degree.”

Freeman says he hopes to offer at least one class every two months — or about six to 10 NFU events per year.

A two-year “degree” from NFU will require 10 credits; for a four-year “diploma” students will need 20 credits.

More information about future programs will be available soon.

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