Rollins Announces Sculpture Honoring Mister Rogers

A bronze sculpture honoring the life and legacy of our most beloved alumnus, Fred Rogers ’51 ’74H, will soon call Rollins home.

Photo courtesy Paul Day Photo courtesy Paul Day
In October, Rollins will unveil a permanent outdoor tribute to the beloved Fred Rogers ’51 ’74H. The cultural icon and creator of the groundbreaking PBS children’s TV series, Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood, majored in music and discovered his passion for service while a student at Rollins.

Standing 7 feet tall and weighing more than 3,000 pounds, A Beautiful Day for a Neighbor captures the essence of Mister Rogers, depicting him in his signature sweater and sneakers, surrounded by children and holding Daniel Striped Tiger. Other hand puppets, fellow inhabitants of the Neighborhood of Make-Believe, adorn the back of the statue, and lyrics from the show’s famous theme song are commemorated in script along the bottom.

“Fred Rogers remains a model for generations, personifying empathy, acceptance, and kindness,” says President Grant Cornwell. “At Rollins, his influence continues to be felt both in the spirit of service to others as well as in physical reminders along the self-guided Mister Rogers Walking Tour. Paul Day’s new sculpture will be the latest and most significant salute to our iconic graduate in his collegiate neighborhood.”

Photos courtesy Paul Day Photos courtesy Paul Day

Rollins Trustee Allan E. Keen ’70 ’71MBA led the way in commissioning Paul Day, a British sculptor renowned for his public commemorative monuments, to create the on-campus public art installation, which will be cast in bronze. These gifts from several members of the Rollins Board of Trustees and other community donors will honor Rogers’ enduring legacy.

Day is creating A Beautiful Day for a Neighbor in his country studio near Dijon in Burgundy, France. The sculpture will be completed this spring and publicly unveiled on the Rollins campus in October.

“After researching Fred Rogers’ life and speaking with people about his legacy, it was important that this sculpture honor his enduring impact in the field of childhood development,” says sculptor Paul Day. “Sculpting a posthumous portrait of Fred surrounded by children, to whom he dedicated his life, has been both challenging and inspiring. I hope that, once installed, this memorial sculpture will bring joy and inspiration to many people.”

A Legacy of Love

The same approach to education that resonated with Fred Rogers ’51 ’74H is molding the next generation of changemakers here at Rollins. Learn more about the many ways we’re living out the values and ideals of our most beloved alumnus.
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