By Elliott Nguyen
Mayo Concert Hall erupted in applause as faculty paid homage to “Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood” at the Faculty Lecture Series on Friday, Oct. 25.
To kick off the event, interactive multimedia professor Josh Fishburn came on stage dressed as Fred Rogers and sang “It’s a Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood.”
Interactive Multimedia professor Warren Buckleitner joined him on stage, where they discussed a road trip they embarked on with some of their students to learn about Fred Rogers, the perennially gentle children’s television host.
The professors detailed how their group was able to tour the Fred Rogers Archive with assistance from the Fred Rogers Center.
“It was fascinating to see the hand-written scripts of the show,” Fishburn said. “In fact, they basically had every single one.”
They also made visits to Rogers’ statue, gravesite and childhood home. Buckleitner clarified that while the home is a private residence, “by using some triangulation data” and Google Earth, they were able to locate the home and drive by it.
The professors played a video clip of their visit to the gravesite, where they discovered that people had recently left coins and notes written to Rogers.
Throughout the lecture they played various other video clips, including the group relaxing in their hotel and gathering around the Rogers statue. They also played several clips from the 2018 documentary “Won’t You Be My Neighbor?,” which tells the story of the television star’s life.
The trip was part of Buckleitner’s class, “Methods of Fred Rogers.” Buckleitner mentioned that the class textbook is “The Good Neighbor: The Life and Works of Fred Rogers.” The book’s author, Maxwell King, will visit the College on Monday, Nov. 4.
The professors also discussed lessons that people could take from Rogers, referring to them as “Fred Tips.” They referenced his habit for collecting quotes as a source of motivation and emphasized the importance of finding mentors.
“Fred wrapped his education around his life — not the other way around,” Buckleitner said. “Fred was fearless.”
In the Q&A portion of the event, Buckleitner credited Rogers’ success to “a rare combination of work ethic, discipline and courage to step out.
“I really, sincerely believe he was motivated to make the world better for the next generation than it is now,” he said.