In a perfect world, awards would be given out, not only to Hollywood stars, but also to individuals with intelligent ideas who put them into action and entertain and educate us in the process.
By Robin Jovanovich
In a perfect world, awards would be given out, not only to Hollywood stars, but also to individuals with intelligent ideas who put them into action and entertain and educate us in the process. Our vote goes to Steven Schragis, the man we have to thank for One Day University.
Schragis said he had his “ah-ha” moment the day he dropped his daughter off at college in 2006. “The college held an event at which a half-dozen different and very interesting professors spoke on a range of subjects,” he said in a recent interview. “I thought, ‘I want to go back to college. This is fun.’”
On the drive back to New York City, he started envisioning a way for adults to do just that. Once home, he decided to find out whom students thought were the best professors at the best universities across the country.
“The best professors are usually ones who have won teaching awards and are dynamic speakers, and that information is easily available on the Internet,” he noted.
So, Schragis decided to contact a few of those professors. In 2007, the first One Day University was held, at the Doral Arrowwood.
Five years later, Schragis has 200 professors on board and thousands of adults waiting to sign up for a day or a weekend program. In 2013, there are already 47 One Day sessions scheduled across the country.
“My competitors are Broadway shows and concerts,” says Schragis matter- of-factly. “What I care about is can a professor keep an audience entertained.”
Over 90 percent of One Day attendees are 48 to 78 years old who are seeking intelligent information, according to Schragis, who attends most of the sessions. “Most of the topics interest me personally — psychology, history, film, science.”
In January, Jane Fox, Marketing Director at The Osborn, emailed Schragis to inquire about the possibility of holding a One Day program at the senior facility in Rye. “The whole idea of lifelong learning and a bigger, better life of the mind is something we’re very interested in offering Osborn residents,” said Fox.
Schragis wrote Fox back right away. As they’re both intelligent people who act on their ideas, Louis Masur, professor of American Studies at Rutgers University, is speaking on “Spielberg’s ‘Lincoln’: Fact or Fiction” at The Osborn Saturday, March 16 from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. One hundred of the seats in the Osborn auditorium will be offered to residents of The Osborn free of charge. Tickets for the public are $30, payable the day of the event. RSVP to 800-815-8534 or RSVP@theosborn.org.