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Fred McFeely Rogers, better known as Mister Rogers, the host of PBS' "Mister Rogers' Neighborhood," will address more than 2,000 graduates at Old Dominion University's spring 2000 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, more than 8 million households 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. Started in 1966, "Mister Rogers' Neighborhood" has been nominated for 26 Emmys and has 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.

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 degree at Old Dominion, 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.

This article was posted on: April 20, 2000

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