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New ‘University’ Debuts Tonight in North Fork

NORTH FORK — Don’t be too surprised tonight if you see Pablo Picasso chatting up Abraham Lincoln in downtown North Fork. The first official class for North Fork’s new “university” takes place Friday (Jan. 10) — and the two historical luminaries together with some other very famous figures are the stars of NFU’s inaugural, off beat syllabus.

Called “Meeting of Minds,” the class will feature a “discussion” with Winston Churchill, Hawaiian Queen Lili’uokalani, mystic Persian poet Jelaladdin Rumi, infant health pioneer Magda Gerber, Chinese philosopher Dr. Sun Yet-sun, painter Pablo Picasso and President Abraham Lincoln.

The rather unusual round table will be hosted by TV talk show host Steve Allen and also will feature a musical performance by George Harrison of the Beatles.

Local area residents, including professional actors and musicians, will assume roles in the “Meeting of Minds,” which will take place Friday (Jan. 10) from 7 to 9 p.m. at the North Fork University campus building — also known as the STUDIO — across from the North Fork Library.

Tuition for the class is $5 for the general public or a 1/2 NF Share (local currency). The event is free for public school students and will result in one “credit” at the new North Fork University.

NFU is a new project founded by local resident Josh Freeman, who says 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 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,” he adds.

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 units.

“If you have a creative idea for a class you would like to offer, please come on Friday and let us know,” Freeman says.

For now, Freeman is encouraging the community to get involved in helping to build NFU.

But thanks to the town’s new traffic circle, he says the project already has a motto — “NORTH FORK UNIVERSITY, the roundabout way to a great education” — which is only fitting for a tongue-in-cheek new educational facility in the exact center of California.

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