Thursday, October 2, 2008


Students sign up for some FUN on Rand Terrace

According to Bill Carey's book on the history of Vanderbilt, "Chancellors, Commodores And Coeds," The Free University of Nashville (FUN) began in 1969, imitating a program at an unnamed California college.

The book says FUN was "a student run program where students and the general public could sign up for free classes taught by students and faculty in everything from racial sensitivity to journalism and self-defense."

Looking through a photo spread about FUN in our 1973 CENTENNIAL COMMODORE, the courses offered that year included a wide variety of topics such as: Nursery Rhymes, The Art of Forgery In Instrumental Music Techniques, Kazoo Band, Women's Self-Defense, C.S. Lewis, Cruising, Folk Jamming Zappa, Banjo, How To Be Crazy In Society and Pottery.

The yearbook reported that the most popular FUN classes our senior year including music courses and popular mechanics with over 400 students (including some from Peabody and Fisk) participating.

According to Carey's book, FUN stayed in existence until at least 1976, "when it courses included amateur radio, bicycle repair, vegetarian cooking and painting."

So who out there in the Class of '73 (or anybody else reading this post) ever signed up for the Free University of Nashville and took some of these courses? What was it like? Do you still remember anything you learned from these classes? Was it more rewarding in some ways that what you learned in the regular classes you took at Vandy? Please leave your thoughts and memories by clicking on the comments link below.

Don't forget the FUN coming up Reunion Weekend(October 24-25), especially the special educational sessions on Friday afternoon.

In particular, that includes the program from 4:00 to 5:30 PM being sponsored by the Class of 1973. It features Vanderbilt Vice Chancellor David Williams and his outstanding HISTORY OF MOTOWN presentation. The class will be held in the Board of Trust Room in the new Student Life Center right across from Memorial Gym on
25th Avenue.

To help get you in the mood for that, and courtesy of YouTube, here's a little Motown fun from the early 1970s: Smokey Robinson and the Miracles, "The Tears of a Clown:"

And there's lots more like that still to come, both here on this blog and Reunion Weekend. So don't miss it!

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