A university in Florida honored one of its most famous alumni this week. Rollins College unveiled a statue of Mister Rogers, the beloved host of Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood.
The statue is named “A Beautiful Day for a Neighbor” and it stands at seven feet tall weighing 3000 pounds. Designed by British artist Paul Day, the statue depicts Fred Rogers holding Daniel Striped Tiger while surrounded by children. The statue took eleven months to complete.
The Chicago Sun-Times says that Rogers graduated from Rollins College in 1951 with a Bachelor’s in Music Composition. While at Rollins he served as president of his fraternity and chairman of the Inter-Faith and Race Relations Committee. He also met his wife while attending school. College President Grant Cornwell hopes that the statue will serve as a “‘permanent reminder of the ideals and values modeled by Rogers as he set out to make the world a better place.'”
Rogers wrote and appeared in Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood which ran on PBS from 1968 to 2001. The show was devoted to helping children grow into good people, and Rogers wasn’t afraid to gently discuss serious topics such as divorce, bullying, and death.
Rogers died in 2003, two years after his show ended. Even though it’s been almost two decades since his passing, Rogers remains a beloved figure among the many generations that grew up watching him. In 2018, a critically acclaimed documentary about his life entitled Won’t You Be My Neighbor? was released. The film documented the life and philosophy of Rogers through testimony by his friends, family, and co-workers. A year later, Tom Hanks starred in A Beautiful Day In The Neighborhood, a biographical film about Rogers.
What do you all think of this statue of Mister Rogers at Rollins College? Did you grow up watching Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood? What were some valuable lessons you learned from the show? Talk to us in the comments.