Fred McFeely Rogers, better known as Mister Rogers, the host of PBS’s “Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood,” will address more than 2,000 graduates at Old Dominion’s spring commencement ceremony, scheduled for 9:30 a.m. Saturday, May 6, at Foreman Field.
For more than three decades, Rogers has entered the front door of his made-for-television home, shedding his coat and loafers for his cardigan sweater and sneakers to begin his still-popular television show.
Each week, approximately 8 million households and child care settings tune in to “Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood,” the longest-running children’s show on PBS and one of the longest-running shows of any kind on television.
Debuting on PBS in 1968, “Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood” has been nominated for 26 Emmys and received two.
Rogers is not only the show’s host, but also its executive producer, writer, composer and chief puppeteer. An ordained Presbyterian minister, he holds a bachelor’s degree in music composition and a master’s in child development. He has earned every major award in the television industry, including two George Foster Peabody Awards.
Rogers has been a popular commencement speaker in recent years because so many of today ‘s graduates grew up watching him on TV.
Born in Latrobe, Pa., in 1928, Rogers is the author of 20 books, part of his First Experiences series for children.
Rogers will receive an honorary doctorate during commencement, along with Robert J. O’Neill Jr., president of the National Academy of Public Administration, a nonprofit organization chartered by Congress to improve governance at the local, regional, state, national and international levels.
A 1973 graduate of Old Dominion, O’Neill worked his way from management intern to city manager for the city of Hampton, and also served a term on Old Dominion’s Board of Visitors.
In case of inclement weather, commencement will be held at Norfolk Scope.