Skip to Content

On World Kindness Day, Toomey Pays Tribute to Fred Rogers

November 13, 2019
Photo

Washington, D.C. - U.S. Senator Pat Toomey (R-Pa.) is honoring Pennsylvania's friendly neighbor, Mr. Fred Rogers. On World Kindness Day, Senator Toomey touches on Mr. Rogers' enormous impact on the lives of countless children and their families in a statement for the Congressional Record.

"Mr. President I rise today to pay tribute to the legacy of one of our nation's most treasured educators and performers, and a native of Pennsylvania, Mister Fred Rogers. Many are recognizing today as World Kindness Day and are performing acts of kindness toward their loved ones, neighbors, and even strangers. Perhaps no American embodies the spirit of kindness more than Fred Rogers."
...

"Fred Rogers will be remembered as a trailblazer in television, master educator, model citizen, and most notably, an inspiration to children and communities across the nation. His legacy lives on through his art and can be found in acts of kindness being done in every neighborhood across the country."

Senator Toomey's full statement for the Congressional Record is below.

Mr. President I rise today to pay tribute to the legacy of one of our nation's most treasured educators and performers, and a native Pennsylvanian, Mister Fred Rogers. Many are recognizing today as World Kindness Day and are performing acts of kindness toward their loved ones, neighbors, and even strangers. Perhaps no American embodies the spirit of kindness more than Fred Rogers.

Affectionately known by children and adults alike as "Mister Rogers," Fred McFeely Rogers was born in Latrobe, Pennsylvania on March 20, 1928. From an early age, Fred Rogers demonstrated an interest in learning, making art through creative expression, and serving others. He graduated with a degree in music composition from Rollins College in Winter Park, Florida in 1951 and earned a degree in divinity from the Pittsburgh Theological Seminary in 1962. A year later, he became an ordained minister of the Presbyterian Church.

        Mister Rogers began his television career shortly after college, working on the sets of NBC in New York City. He then moved back to Southwestern Pennsylvania to work for the first community-owned, public television station in the country, Pittsburgh's WQED. He gained a first-hand view of the transformative power of television and the impact that educational programs could have on adults and children. At WQED, Mister Rogers worked with Josie Carey on a program called The Children's Corner, where many of his now-familiar characters were first given life. Additionally, he sought the expertise of Dr. Margaret McFarland, the director of the Arsenal Family and Children's Center in Pittsburgh to integrate best teaching practices into his work.

In 1963, Rogers appeared on camera for the first time to host a children's program called Misterogers. The program was filmed by the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation in Toronto and aired until 1967. Rogers returned to Pittsburgh and WQED where he created and filmed Mister Rogers' Neighborhood. By 1968, the Public Broadcasting Service was broadcasting Mister Rogers to thousands of households throughout the country.

For three decades, Mister Rogers brought love, kindness, generosity, grace, laughter, and cheer into the lives of countless children and their families. His lessons and performances on Mister Rogers' Neighborhood taught children about respect, safety, perseverance, civility, and caring for others. He did not shy away from issues that face almost every child, including intolerance, disagreement, and bullying. Because he could connect with children in a way few adults could, Mister Rogers helped children to cope and understand difficult emotional issues like anger, death, and divorce. Mister Rogers was a friend to all children and played an important role in the lives of many by reminding them of their self-worth.

Mister Rogers was bestowed with numerous accolades, including the Presidential Medal of Freedom, which was awarded by President George W. Bush in 2002. Since his death on February 27, 2003, scores of people have paid tribute to Mister Rogers' life and legacy. This year, Pennsylvania celebrated the first "1-4-3 Day" - the number of letters in the words ‘I love you', as Mister Rogers would note - in Rogers' honor. Last month, the city of Nashville, Tennessee proclaimed November as "Thank You, Mister Rogers Month." The arts industry has payed tribute to Rogers' body of work through collaborative music projects, biographies, and feature films. The outpouring of support is a testament to Rogers' impact on the Nation. Even today, millions of children continue to benefit from Mister Rogers' work through programs like the cartoon Daniel Tiger's Neighborhood, which is made and distributed by Fred Rogers Productions.

Fred Rogers will be remembered as a trailblazer in television, master educator, model citizen, and most notably, an inspiration to children and communities across the nation. His legacy lives on through his art and can be found in acts of kindness being done in every neighborhood across the country.

Mr. President, I urge my colleagues to join me in celebrating the life of Fred Rogers, a friendly neighbor and model citizen for whom every day was beautiful.