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Fred Rogers Center to Launch 'Won't You Be My Neighbor, Again?' Series with Latrobe Art Center

by Public Relations | February 18, 2022

LATROBE, PA – After being awarded the Council of Independent Colleges’ Humanities Research for the Public Good Grant, Saint Vincent College and the Fred Rogers Center will be launching a new community programming series in conjunction with the Latrobe Art Center called “Wont You Be My Neighbor, Again?”

The programming, which is based upon the life and legacy of Fred Rogers, aims to increase public access and awareness of the important cultural and intellectual legacy of one of the most beloved American spokespersons for children and humanity. The programming will additionally explore the resources of the Fred Rogers Archive, the history of Latrobe and local programming in the Latrobe community. 

Beginning this month, “Won’t You Be My Neighbor, Again?” will consist of four community events that will combine the research of Saint Vincent College Students, the history of Fred Rogers, the city of Latrobe and the outreach of the Latrobe Art Center. This series will take the form of two exhibits each consisting of two events. The exhibits include student-selected artifacts from the Fred Rogers Archive that exemplify how impactful Fred Rogers was on the Latrobe community and how the neighborhood of Latrobe impacted Fred Rogers and Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood. At all events, students from the Fred Rogers Scholars program will discuss the artifacts on display and will host a children’s activity at no cost. The exhibits will remain open during Latrobe Art Center business hours from February 19 – March 19 and again from April 23 – May 21.

The opening event will take place on February 19 from 3:00 – 5:00 pm and is entitled “The Boy and the Neighborhood: The History of Fred Rogers and the Town of Latrobe.” This event will provide insight not only into Fred’s childhood and his lifelong involvement in Latrobe, but also the impact his grandparents and parents had on the community. Artifacts on display for the opening event will include newspaper articles about Fred’s parents and grandparents and documents such as pamphlets and programs from events Fred participated in as a child and will demonstrate how the generosity of ancestors helped to form a true sense of neighborhood amongst Latrobe residents.

The closing event for the first exhibit will take place on March 19 from 3:00 – 5:00 pm and is entitled “Feeling Neighborly: Fred Rogers and Being a Good Neighbor.” This event will consider how Fred’s real neighborhood compared to the neighborhood of make-believe, how that neighborhood evolved over 30 years on television, and what children and grown-ups learned from engaging from Fred’s neighborhoods.

The second exhibit will begin with an opening event on April 23 entitled “Arts in the Neighborhood and the Natural World” and will go from 3:00 – 5:00 pm. As art was always present in some form in the “Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood” program, this event will focus on how Fred communicated the importance of art to children. Students will present research that covers preliminary notes, production materials and scripts that demonstrate Fred’s motivation and means for presenting certain themes on “Mister Rogers Neighborhood.”

The final event of the series, entitled “Neighbor, 143 (I Love You),” will take place on May 21 from 3:00 – 5:00 pm. Fred’s code for “I love you,” was 143, as each number denotes the number of letters in each word of the phrase. In honor of Fred, Gov. Tom Wolfe of Pennsylvania designated the 143rd day of the year (May 23 of this year) as a day of kindness. Students will explain the significance of Fred’s connection to the number and will more broadly focus on the subject of love.

“Won’t You Be My Neighbor, Again?” is supported by a Humanities Research for the Public Good grant from The Council of Independent Colleges (CIC). This grant program is a national incentive to promote student research and public engagement at private colleges while showcasing the archival, library and museum collections held by these institutions. Saint Vincent College is one of just 24 institutions from across the U.S. to be awarded the CIC grant, which is generously supported by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.



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