5 p.m. cocktail reception
7 p.m. awards and performance
Legendary American educator, Presbyterian minister, songwriter, author and television host Fred Rogers (1928 – 2003) shared his compassion, patience, honesty, imagination and dedication to children’s advocacy with families around the world for 30-plus years.
Today, Rogers’ pioneering model for children’s entertainment and education, as well as his passion for social causes, lives on through the groundbreaking TV program he created and hosted, Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood (1968–2001), via his many books, songs and speeches, as well as through the numerous events and memorials that celebrate his vision.
On Friday, May 23rd, Rogers’ hometown of Latrobe, PA will host a special awards event in his honor at St. Vincent College. Celebrating Rogers’ life and legacy, including his dedication to inspiring, nurturing and educating children, the Fred Rogers Center will name the celebrated cellist and educator Yo-Yo Ma as the inaugural recipient of the Fred Rogers Legacy Award.
Attendees (more than 500 tickets have been sold to date) will start the evening with a silent auction, hors d’oeuvres and cocktails at the Center. The event will continue at the Basilica at Saint Vincent College, with an awards ceremony and a special performance by Yo-Yo Ma. Event sponsors will be treated to a special cocktail reception and dinner with Ma at the Center.
Born in 1955, the French and American cellist, who was a child prodigy and performing by age five, has played as a soloist with major orchestras, released 75 albums and received 15 Grammy Awards. Continuing Rogers’ legacy, the award recognizes Yo-Yo Ma’s own dedication to education and cultural enrichment. In 1998, the cellist founded the Silk Road Project to promote the study of cultural, artistic and intellectual traditions internationally. Ma’s nonprofit also runs multidisciplinary educational programs for middle school students in the US. Like Rogers, Ma uses the power of popular culture and media to engage students of all ages in learning through music. Ma, who has also appeared on Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood and Sesame Street, was named Peace Ambassador by UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan in 2006.
The new Fred Rogers Legacy Award was established to honor individuals “who have made exemplary professional contributions and personal commitments to service that pay forward elements of Rogers’ legacy as a person embodying universal human values,” including being a creative artist, a teacher, an innovator, a model for early learning and development, and an advocate for the dignity and potential of all children. Recipients will also demonstrate the mission of the Fred Rogers Center for Early Learning and Children’s Media, by serving as catalysts for communication, collaboration and creative change in their respective fields.
Proceeds from The Fred Rogers Legacy Award will support scholarships and fellowships offered by the Center that are designed to advance the next generation of students and young media creators in the spirit of Fred Rogers’ work.