Fred McFeely Rogers (March 20, 1928 – February 27, 2003), also known as Mister Rogers, was the creator and host of the preschool television series Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood, which ran from 1968 to 2001.
He was born in Latrobe, Pennsylvania, near Pittsburgh, and earned a bachelor’s degree in music from Rollins College in 1951. He began his television career at NBC in New York, returning to Pittsburgh in 1953 to work for children’s programming at NET (later PBS) television station WQED. He graduated from Pittsburgh Theological Seminary with a bachelor’s degree in divinity in 1962. He became a Presbyterian minister in 1963. He attended the University of Pittsburgh’s Graduate School of Child Development, where he began his 30-year long collaboration with child psychologist Margaret McFarland. In 1968, he created Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood, which ran for 33 years. He received over 40 honorary degrees and several awards, including the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2002 and a Lifetime Achievement Emmy in 1997. He was inducted into the Television Hall of Fame in 1999.
Fred Rogers was known for his creativity, kindness, spirituality, and commitment to the well-being of children. Lovingly called “America’s favorite neighbor,” he used his many diverse talents to inspire, nurture, and educate.
Fred’s bedrock honesty and integrity was consistent throughout his life. He treated everyone with the same respect and sensitivity that he knew had helped him as a child. His strong moral code informed every aspect of his life, from how he lived to the community he chose for his family and work.
He was able to integrate all his interests and aptitudes—his music, his writing, his creativity, his faith, his sense of family and community, and his sense of service— into a coherent whole that gave a special power to his life and his influence. Fred was careful not to use that influence carelessly. He did not often endorse viewpoints or tell others how to live. Instead, he led—as the best leaders do—through example.
Mister Rogers was a humble servant-leader and key influencer in the arts & entertainment arena. This MindWolves montage shows how he wielded his influence in a kind, gentle and attractive manner with different audiences.