'Renaissance Man' Finally Graduates
Language Exam Is 46-Year Obstacle
Did you have trouble with your language requirement? It took Eino J. Friberg 46 years to fulfill his.
Originally a member of the Class of 1930, Friberg will receive his diploma this Thursday.
"The degree didn't seem as interesting as other things I was doing at the time--playwriting and my involvement in the labor movement," Friberg said yesterday. "So I never took the exam."
Friberg decided to take the French placement exam this year partly because a fire thirty years ago destroyed his diplomas from other institutions and many of his manuscripts.
"But the fire was secondary. I'm mostly doing it for the hell of it," he said.
His lack of a Harvard diploma didn't stop Friberg, who has been blind since early childhood, from leading an active life.
Friberg, who was born in Finland, has written several plays based on Finnish folklore. He is presently working on an English translation of the Kalevala, a 23,000-line Finnish epic.
Another future Friberg project is the condensation of a braille dictionary. The present braille edition of the "Webster's New World Dictionary" contains 72 volumes and occupies an entire wall of Friberg's study.
Friberg describes himself as a "Renaissance man, in the tradition of Leonardo da Vinci."
Although he calls literature his true vocation, Friberg was the dean and founder of an experimental school during the Depression, and has been an employee in a machine shop, a Universalist clergyman and a tree farmer. He is also the author of an unpublished book, "The Conscious Light," an autobiographical account of the psychological roots of religion.
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